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Election results 2022: Secretary of State Paul Pate wins reelection

A graphic showing that Secretary of State Paul Pate has won reelection.

Paul Pate has won reelection to a new 4-year term as Iowa Secretary of State per a call made by The Associated Press.

Paul Pate is in the center frame, smiling and wearing a suit with an "I voted" sticker with the election party in the background.
John Pemble
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Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate celebrating his reelection at the Republican election night gathering in Des Moines.

Election Results

Meet the Secretary of State candidates

The secretary of state is the state commissioner of elections and supervises Iowa’s 99 county auditors in the administration of election laws and administrative rules. Candidates for all statewide offices, federal offices, legislative offices and certain judicial offices also file their nomination petitions with the secretary of state. Republican incumbent Paul Pate faces Democratic challenger Joel Miller.

Joel Miller

Joel Miller
Joel Miller speaks at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair.

Democrat Joel Miller has been Linn County auditor since 2007 and was previously mayor of Robins. He's also served in the military.

Paul Pate

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate stands behind a podium as he speaks to reporters about election security safeguards.
Grant Gerlock
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IPR
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate explains plans to monitor cybersecurity through the end of the 2020 election.

Republican Paul Pate is running for a fourth term as secretary of state and was previously the mayor of Cedar Rapids and has also served as a state lawmaker.

The issues

2020 election

Pate says his office followed the rules in the last presidential election, and that there was a legitimate winner. He also said that misinformation and disinformation about elections is the biggest challenge facing his office.

His office created an election security web page that dispels common false claims about voting.

That's not enough for Miller, who said Pate should be doing more to disavow people like Rudy Giuliani and former President Donald Trump, who have denied and tried to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election. He said that rhetoric is fueling conspiracy theories and voter challenges across the state, including 119 in his county.

Pate also committed to certifying the results of the 2024 presidential election in Iowa. And he said Iowa has been ranked third best in the country at election administration.

Voting restrictions

Miller's campaign platform is to "make voting easy again." In 2019, he filed a public-records request with Pate over spending to update Iowa's voter registration system. They also clashed in 2020 after Miller and auditors in Johnson and Woodbury counties mailed out pre-filled absentee ballot request forms to voters.

The Republican National Committee claimed the forms were illegal, and Pate sent out an emergency directive, specifying that no voter identification information could be pre-printed on the absentee ballot request forms. Ultimately, a judge ordered that Miller's office toss out tens of thousands of ballots after the RNC and other GOP groups sued.

Miller has also criticized Pate for not doing more to stop Republican lawmakers from cutting the amount of time Iowans have to vote in elections. Absentee ballots must now be received by the county auditors by the time polls close on Election Day. Previously, ballots just had to be put in the mail by the day before Election Day and would still be counted if they arrived a few days afterward.

Miller said this change has prevented some votes from being counted.

Pate said it's his job to administer the laws made by the Iowa Legislature. He also did not give a direct answer when asked on Iowa Press if the new law is disenfranchising voters. He said voters can use the state’s absentee ballot tracking system to see if their ballot will arrive on time, and then can vote in person if it doesn’t.

“We have deadlines in our lives everywhere,” Pate said. “Everything we do is a deadline. And this is no different. There’s a deadline, which means we as election officials, the county auditor’s responsibility, and my office’s assisting in that, is educating the public, making sure they know what has to be done to be successful as voters.”