Six election officials from five Iowa counties recently completed the second session of the Iowa State Election Administrators Training (SEAT). The session was held in Des Moines on Nov. 16.
The SEAT training was part of a series of three sessions offered through the joint efforts of the Iowa State County Auditors Association and the office of Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver. The first session was offered last spring, and the final session is planned early next year. The program is open to local officials who work with elections, and is designed to insure that the citizens of Iowa have well-administered elections that are fair and accurate, according to Paul Coates, who directs the program.
The program is coordinated through the Office of State and Local Government Programs operated by Iowa State University Extension as part of the Public Policy and Administration Program at ISU. Coates is an ISU Extension political scientist and a member of the Political Science faculty.
Topics at the second session included making polls accessible to voters, canvassing of elections, and the purchase and use of voting equipment. Costs of the training were paid by the Secretary of State’s Office from funds received from the Help America Vote Act passed by the United States Congress.
Election workers who complete 50 hours of training in the SEAT program are eligible for certification as election administrators. The three-session series has been offered annually since 2002. Iowa is a national leader in the development of a professional certification program for election administrators at the state and county level.
Participants in the November session included Laura Perley of Muscatine County, Bev Larson-Needham, deputy auditor of Allamakee County; Shari Carthu, elections assistant for Story County; Joan Kirk of Fremont County; and Dennis Parrott and Debbie Gonzalz of Jasper County.