116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Charging 'incredible incompetency” and disservice to Iowa voters, Jim Mowrer of Des Moines is considering challenging Secretary of State Paul Pate in 2018.
Mowrer, whose experience in conducting elections goes back to helping fellow Iowa Army National Guard members vote while in Iraq in 2006, said Pate is trying 'to make it as expensive and difficult as possible.”
Mowrer, 31, a two-time Democratic candidate for the U.S. House, now works for an Iowa human services nonprofit agency and is an adjunct instructor at Grand View University in Des Moines.
In conversations with county auditors - Republicans and Democrats, he said, who oversee elections - Mowrer has heard that Pate's office does not work well with them.
'That's really what it's about - working with county auditors and others to make sure our elections are as free and fair and secure as possible,” Mowrer said Friday. 'Frankly, that's not happening right now.”
In addition to voting registration and election systems, the Secretary of State's Office business functions are out-of-date and 'way behind the times compared to what other states are doing with online instant filings,” he said.
'There's a lot of work that needs to be done,” Mowrer said, adding it would be similar to work he did at the Army Office of Business Transformation at the Pentagon to improve business practices.
Pate, a former state senator and mayor of Cedar Rapids, was elected secretary of state in 2014 after having previously served in that office from 1995-99. He has often spoken of the lack of funding to update hardware and software, some of which is no longer available from the manufacturers.
Mowrer attributed that to 'severe mismanagement” by Pate.
Rather than get funds to update those systems, Mowrer said, Pate went to the Legislature to get resources to make it more difficult to vote. Pate proposed the 'Voter Integrity Act” that, among other things, will require Iowans, beginning in 2019, to show an ID before they vote.
Despite Democratic opposition, polls showed that requiring a voter ID was popular with voters.
Mowrer did not call for repealing the law but said there needs to be a 'reprioritization,” such as returning to 40 days of early voting before Election Day. The new law reduced that to 29 days, which Mowrer said could limit voter access.
As he considers the race, Mowrer is encouraged by a June 19-21 20/20 Insight poll of 526 Iowans showing that in a head-to-head match-up he tops Pate 38 percent to 33 percent. The poll had a 4.3 percent margin of error.
Mowrer said he is talking to his family and friends about challenging Pate and expects to make a decision before Labor Day.
Other Democrats said to be considering the race are Des Moines business owner Deidre DeJear and Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert.
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