Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate visited Muscatine on Wednesday morning. Pate was in town speaking with business owners and area banks discussing the services that the Secretary of State’s office can provide for businesses.

According to Pate, the Secretary of State’s office is the number one source for businesses seeking information. The office has seen an uptick in business growth, with paperwork being filed to begin over fifteen thousand new businesses in the state in the past year. When that number is added to the statistic that business closing in Iowa have dropped by 63%, Pate explains that the state of business in Iowa is strong and encouraging at this time.

In addition to the business side, Pate says one of the main functions of the office is to “maintain the participation, integrity, and service of the elections, including informing people why it is important to be involved and how to become involved.”

One feature that has been implemented is the app. The app is a free download available in either the App Store or the Google Play Store. The app can be used to receive alerts for upcoming elections in the user’s area. Alerts include all elections, including local elections such as school board and larger elections such as the general election in November. Included in the alerts are the times that polls are open, as well as the user’s polling location for that particular election.

In regards to the upcoming general election, Pate says that voter participation is expected to be close to that of previous years, with over 70% of registered voters anticipated to vote.

At the time of Pate’s visit, over 120,200 registered Democrats had requested an absentee ballot, while just over 83,300 Republicans had requested one. Independent voters had requested over 52,000. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by the Friday before Election Day and received by the time the polls close on Election Day. If an absentee ballot is requested and not mailed in, the voter may still vote on Election Day, though they will be required to surrender their absentee ballot before they will be able to cast a regular ballot.