State Election Director to retire, honored with major award

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Iowa State Election Director Dawn Williams, a Marshalltown resident, holds the National Association of Secretaries of State award, presented recently by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, left. Williams will begin retirement Friday after 30 years of public service at the county and state level.

DES MOINES — A one-time assistant manager in a retail store found a career in public service beginning in 1988 and went on to dutifully serve more than three decades.

State Director of Elections Dawn Williams of Marshalltown is retiring as an Iowa election professional. Her last day in the Secretary of State’s Office is Friday.

In commemoration of her service, Secretary of State Paul Pate recently honored her with a National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Medallion, according to a press release from the Secretary of State’s office.

The NASS Medallion Award allows Secretaries of State to recognize outstanding service and dedication by individuals, groups or organizations in furthering NASS’ mission. Williams

garnered another major award in August 2018, being inducted into The Election Center’s Hall of Fame. Only 13 other election professionals nationwide have been honored. Recipients are selected because they have earned respect and trust among peers and furthered the elections profession through conduct and actions.

“It has been an honor to serve Secretary Pate’s administration, serve counties and voters in my capacity as the State Director of Elections,” Williams said. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to hold a job I loved going to every day and to know I made a difference in some small way.”

Williams said now was the right time to step away, as spouse Ted is also retired. They couple is looking forward to traveling, with trips to Italy and Las Vegas planned in the near future.

“We are looking forward to getting up and moving when the spirit moves us,” she said. “The last 30-plus years of my career have revolved around elections.”

She was excited in describing the trip to Italy as their two sons Brett Williams and Grant Williams will be joining them, as well as Brett’s wife and three children, and Grant’s fiancé.

Williams, a self-described “rocker” was equally excited saying she and Ted will be seeing renown rock band Aerosmith in Las Vegas later this year.

The retiree is also looking forward to gardening and golf.

Important to her is Marshalltown’s well-being, especially after the July 19 tornado. Consequently, she included volunteering on her list of things-to-do.

Williams joined the Secretary of State’s Office in January 2015. Previously, she worked in the Marshall County Auditor’s Office from 1988-2014, first serving as Election Director and later County Auditor and Recorder.

Williams said her 26 years in Marshall County were critical in preparing for her role in Secretary Pate’s team.

“We will miss Dawn’s leadership and knowledge,” Pate said. “She is respected both statewide and nationally. I am grateful Dawn served on my staff these past four years.”


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or