Dems: Senator Courtney urges Secretary of State Pate to reject new voter suppression efforts

August 24, 2015
State Senator Tom Coutney of Burlington

State Senator Tom Coutney of Burlington

August 24, 2015 


DES MOINES — A key state senator today called on Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate to formally pledge not to use federal funds for any future voter purge effort in Iowa.

Senator Tom Courtney of Burlington, former chair of the Senate’s Government Oversight Committee, issued this challenge today in response to a ruling by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.  The commission recently ruled that it was permissible for Pate’s predecessor, former Secretary of State Matt Schultz, to spend a quarter of a million dollars of Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds to hire a law enforcement officer to conduct criminal investigations of Iowa voters.

“Other states used federal “Help America Vote” funds to making voting easier and simpler.  They invested in things like better voting machines and training poll workers,” said Courtney.  “In Iowa, $240,000 of those dollars were diverted to partisan effort to intimidate voters and lower voter turnout.”

Today, Courtney challenged Schultz’s replacement, Paul Pate, to formally pledge to never use any taxpayer dollars on voter purge campaigns.

“All Iowans agree that only eligible citizens should be allowed to vote. The issue is whether Paul Pate, Iowa’s new Secretary of State, will promise never to use taxpayer dollars to discourage eligible citizens from voting,” said Courtney.  “I urge Secretary Pate to issue a statement making it clear that Iowa is no longer one of the states where election officials use tax dollars to suppress voter turnout.”



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