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Iowa Elections Official "disappointed" with Homeland Security Secretary


Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate says he is “disappointed” with comments made by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly earlier this week. Kelly says states that are not asking the federal government for help with protecting their elections from hackers are “nuts.”

Secretary Pate says that in recent years, the Department of Homeland Security has not given state election officials enough information.

“It’s making it difficult for us to be proactive when they cite that there were 20 instances of some potential hacking going on, and they don’t share it with us,” Pate says. “That’s frustrating. The least they can do is say, ‘Hey, you’re not one of them,’ if that’s the case.”

Pate says he hasn’t seen information showing that any state has had someone tamper with their elections to change the results. But he says he believes outside groups, including Russians, are trying to undermine Americans’ confidence in the election system.

"There’s nobody hacking into our system and changing your vote or changing the outcome of an election,” Pate says.

Pate is also sticking to his decision to not provide confidential voter information to President Trump’s election integrity commission. The commission had its first public meeting this week. The commission sent a letter to each state requesting voter registration information. Secretary Pate says he has not formally responded to the letter and says it was “poorly written.”

“The author [Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach] of it, being a secretary of state himself, should know, and I believe does know, that no state’s going to share social security information or confidential information like driver’s license ID,” Pate says.

He says if there is a formal request for the kind of voter information that’s already available to political parties and journalists, he will direct the commission to that information. Secretary Pate says he has not seen widespread voter fraud in Iowa.

In this news buzz edition of River to River, we also hear from Blake Waldrop, the co-owner and CEO of RMA Armament in Centerville about his visit to the White House. IPR reporter, Amy Mayer, joins the show to discuss mad cow disease, Mark Licht, ISU Assistant Professor provides an Iowa crop update, Des Moines Register Education Reporter Mackenzie Ryan shares information about a recent court decision affecting special education, and Mike Wilson, former Vice President of Operations at Collins Radio in Cedar Rapids remembers that company's involvement in the Apollo moon landing mission which took place 48 years ago this week.  

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River