Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate stepped right into the middle of a heated debate over voting rights at a time when it is burning brightest. Former President Barack Obama called voter fraud a “fake news” story in his final press conference, while the term “hacking” gets thrown around with abandon after the 2016 election. The debate is happening as some states have ramped up efforts to limit the franchise after parts of the Voting Rights Act were struck down in 2013, and yet others have worked to expand participation. But Pate, a Republican, is hoping — probably in vain, if the early indications are correct — some of the “political nonsense” will die down once people get a good look at his Voter Integrity Act proposal.
“Once everybody has a chance to take a deep breath and kind of try to take some of the political stuff out of the debate, it is, I think, going to be a great place to start out and work this from,” Pate said in an editorial board meeting with The Courier.
Pate stressed repeatedly the legislation, which has yet to be introduced, will not be like the so-called voter ID bills in other states and is focused on technology upgrades that will secure integrity without limiting the franchise.