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Secretary of State reassures Iowans elections are secure ahead of 2022 primaries

In a one-on-one interview with Local 5, Paul Pate said his office is working diligently to combat misinformation and disinformation.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Since the 2020 presidential election, the conversation about election fraud has been pushed to the forefront.

Many involved in the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot in Washington believe false claims of election fraud from former President Donald Trump.

Those rioters included numerous Iowans, including father and son Daryl and Daniel Johnson, who are now serving jail time for their involvement.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate sat down for a one-on-one interview with Local 5 to dispel some of this misinformation and disinformation.

When asked whether Iowa has seen any widespread voter fraud since 2020, Pate responded simply: “No. We have not."

Pate attributes some of the confusion to applying national stories they might have seen to Iowa. 

“Some of it is they want to talk about voting equipment, and because they pick on one system that might have had some national attention and they want to drag it and apply it to Iowa, when it’s not,” Pate said.

That includes paying close attention to mail-in ballots as well. Pate’s office said in the 2020 elections, the state mailed out 1,050,593 ballots — 95% of those were returned.

Of the 994,300 ballots counted, Pate’s team says only 2,592 were rejected. That’s a 0.3% rejection rate.

With no voter fraud seen in Iowa elections, Local 5 asked whether Senate File 413 was necessary or simply passed to strengthen existing voter laws.

“The Legislature writes the laws of the land. I’m the administrator, like I said, the referee. I’m sure some of the umpires and every official doesn’t like every rule that comes out but I’ll say this," Pate said. "A lot of what the Legislature did was exactly what the voters were asking for.”

Pate said the numbers and protocols his office has in place show voters shouldn’t worry.

In an op-ed he wrote in the Des Moines Register two weeks ago, he pointed to research done by the Elections Performance Index, which shows Iowa third in the country for elections performance in 2020.

As an added layer of safety, Pate said poll workers on both sides of the aisle are trained well and the machines are top-notch.

“I’ve been very clear and specific. The voting equipment gets certified by us here at the state of Iowa has been checked and re-checked and gets reviewed before each election and they don’t have internet hookups so it’s safe,” he said. “The balloting itself goes into the tabulators and when an evening is over with, they will be reviewed and tabulators will give us preliminary results.”

From the preliminary results all the way until the final ones come out, Pate hopes Iowans have confidence their votes are protected.

“My office, and me particularly, don’t wear the jersey of a team. We’re there to do what’s right for Iowans. Sometimes that doesn’t make us popular but at the end of the day, we want you to have confidence and the results are accurate."

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