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Is this heaven? No, it's a state full of internal conflict and active lawsuits seeking to curtail voter participation.



Election Integrity Grade

Paul Pate (R)

Elected - In Office Since 2015

Population: 3,155,070

Budget Allocation For Elections: $3,515,285

Per Capita Investment In Elections: $1.11

In Iowa, elections are overseen by the Secretary of State, a directly elected state officer who serves a four-year term. The current Secretary of State is Republican Paul Pate; Pate defeated Deirdre DeJear (D) in 2018 to win re-election to a second term. Pate will be up for re-election in 2022. There are no term limits.

Secretary Pate is, by all appearances, a dedicated public servant working in the best interests of Iowans. He served as the president of NASS until July of 2020. He supported universal mail-in ballot applications ahead of the state's primary in June, and has made necessary funds available at the local level. 

The state's Republicans legislators, on the other hand, reacted to the record-setting participation in June's primary by passing a reactionary and restrictive law that cracks down on mail-in ballot access. And the Trump campaign recently won a lawsuit that led to 50,000 absentee ballot applications being voided.

Statements on Voter Fraud

COVID-19 Preparedness

Support for Vote By Mail

Secretary Pate has voiced some frustration over the Trump campaign's baseless attacks on vote-by-mail. In his recent role as president of the NASS, he spoke up about the need for the process to remain non-partisan. (B+)

The Secretary of State's office in Iowa has disbursed over $2 million in CARES Act funds to local counties and precincts to provide for PPE, additional polling place supplies, disinfectants, and worker training programs. (B+)

Secretary Pate sent absentee applications to all registered voters ahead of June's primary election. He has embraced the need for mail-in voting. Republican state legislators, however, passed a restrictive law three days after the primary. (C)

Cyber Security

Iowa has provided $1 million in cybersecurity funding for county auditors to conduct readiness assessments ahead of November. The post-election audit process, however, lags behind accepted best practices. (C)

State Politics

Despite the Secretary of State's best efforts to expand the franchise and administer a successful election in November, state-level Republicans and the Trump campaign have obstructed at every turn. Iowa's partisans could cause trouble. (C-)

State History

Iowa was one of 21 states targeted by hackers in the 2016 elections. It was also the site of the disastrous Democratic caucuses in January. It has a history as a swing state, and partisan lawsuits have already been filed to limit voters' options. (C)


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Iowa Democratic Party

There have been no reported incidents of fraud associated with these mailings or even allegations of fraud. In fact, these mailings have never been a point of litigation, controversy or public debate in prior years.

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Paul Pate

Secretary of State

The frustration for many of us in my role as the NASS president is I would prefer the politicians leave the debate on us voting by mail.

It doesn’t help when I have some of the politics that’s going on.

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Roxanna Moritz


Iowa Assoc. of County Auditors

County auditors, as local commissioners of elections, are baffled by this (Republican efforts to limit mail-in voting). The 2020 primary was very successful, based on a variety of metrics, largely due to the steps taken by the secretary.


Protect Our Election,

Preserve Our Democracy

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