Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is expressing frustration with federal officials who are warning voter registration systems maintained by the states are in “imminent danger” of being “hacked.” The U.S. Homeland Security secretary said this week that states that fail to ask for help to prevent cyber intruders are “nuts.”
“I’m disappointed in the secretary,” Pate said today on Iowa Public Radio’s “River to River” program. “I think that if he seriously wants our cooperation, he ought to show up at our meeting. He sent a representative to our national meeting who was generous enough to sit in the meeting, but he didn’t have a single answer for any of us when we asked the hard questions.”
Pate, who is a Republican, was among the state election officials who held their summer meeting earlier this month. Pate said federal officials need to provide him and other election officials from other states with a security clearance so they can learn more details about the hacking.
“I find it very frustrating that Homeland Security has not done a good job on working with the states. We had a reasonable working relationship prior to this cycle,” Pate said. “They would send us information about certain challenges they were monitoring and we would take action.”
Pate said that changed during the 2016 election in President Obama’s last year in office and the Trump Administration has continued withholding important information from the states, according to Pate.
On another high-profile issue, Pate indicated he and other state officials who are in charge of elections hope to speak with President Trump about Trump’s assertion that as many as five million “illegal” votes were cast in the 2016 presidential election.
“I welcome the president to sit down with us so we can walk him through the process, so he understands the difference between fraud and, perhaps, some of the other challenges that elections face that can disenfranchise people,” Pate said.
For example, Pate said casting more than one ballot in an election is illegal, but merely being a registered voter in two different places is not.
The commission Trump appointed to investigate voter fraud met for the first time this week. Pate said he supports efforts to “reassure Americans” that their votes count, but Pate said he’s “not seeing millions” of fraudulent votes.