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Paul Pate: 'You Can’t Be Voting from Moscow'

John Pemble/IPR
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate

Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate brought his re-election campaign to the Iowa State Fair Tuesday, taking his turn on the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox.  

As the state’s chief elections officer, Pate said Iowa has registered a quarter of a million new voters during his time in office, aided in part by a new online voter registration system.   He said the state ranks among the top in the nation for voter participation and registration.   Also, 17-year olds can now register and vote in primary elections.

He addressed recent news from the Mueller investigation that Russian operatives visited the websites of some Iowa counties in an effort to steal voter information.  

Pate says Iowa’s election system cannot be hacked, because voting happens on paper, not online.

“So you can't be voting from Moscow, Russia,” Pate said.   “The only ones that I would let vote from Moscow are the folks from Moscow, Iowa,” he added, to laughter from the crowd.

He received scattered applause when he promoted one of his office’s chief initiatives, Iowa’s new voter ID law, which he said was designed to “improve the integrity” of voting. 

“There’s been a lot of misrepresentation of what this is,” Pate said.

Pate also noted his office’s work on post-election audits, which one Democratic analysis described as a weak spot in the state’s election system infrastructure.

For the fall election, Pate’s Democratic opponent is Des Moines businesswoman Deidre DeJear.