DES MOINES — Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate says hackers have not compromised any Iowa voting systems, but Pate says the Russians are waging a “war of public opinion” on social media to sow doubt about the U.S. election process.
“I think, if anything, the Russians proved they were very active on that front and the things they’ve done, cyber-wise, has been to create the doubt, not to really get a result or impact an election directly,” Pate says. “…That’s as damaging as if they did get in.”
Pate says Russian military officials visited some public websites for Iowa counties before the 2016 election, but did not access any private information. Pate says his office is working on another election-related project — to improve the flawed list of people who are barred from voting because of a felony conviction.
“We’ll probably end up having one full-time person doing this and monitoring it because bad information in is bad information out,” Pate says. “We have to make sure that when we get information from other government entities, we have to ensure that it’s the most accurate and up-to-date.”
The Des Moines Register has reported some Iowans who are not felons have wrongly had their ballots rejected. Pate says his office doesn’t maintain the list, but the court system sends a list of felons to his office and that list is passed along to county auditors, who have the power to add and remove names from the list of eligible voters. Pate admits people convicted of felonies in other states aren’t all being added to the list.