Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate says the integrity of the state’s elections system remains intact, although he acknowledges it’s been repeatedly attacked by outsiders who have included would-be hackers from Russia. “On a regular basis, we have bad actors who attempt to breach our system. Hundreds of thousands every single day … and we deflect them so that they are not successful,” Pate said. “To be a hacker, they have to actually get into the system. We have not been hacked. The Russians have not hacked us.” But Pate, a Republican who is Iowa’s chief elections official, confirmed to The Des Moines Register this week that he intends to ask the Iowa Legislature in 2018 for additional money for technology upgrades to the state’s elections system. The cost won’t be in the millions of dollars, but it will be significant, he added. “We have to stay ahead of the curve here. We need to make sure we are head of the bad guys before they come,” Pate said.
One of his concerns, Pate added, is to ensure that election records maintained by county auditors remain secure. State officials also need to work with technology experts to make sure the state is doing everything possible to protect against cyber-intruders, he said.
Pate acknowledged last week that there were “attempted outside intrusions” on the state’s elections system last year, but no breaches. Pate spoke after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security notified election officials in 21 states, including Iowa, that hackers targeted their systems in 2016.