About the Secretary
Paul D. Pate
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate has dedicated his life to public service. Now in his third term as Iowa’s Commissioner of Elections, Secretary Pate is guided by three core principles: service, participation and integrity.
Pate served in the State Senate for six years, beginning in 1989. He was first elected Iowa’s Secretary of State in 1994. Cedar Rapids voters selected Pate as their mayor in 2001. During that tenure, he also served as President of the Iowa League of Cities.
Upon returning to the Secretary of State’s office in 2015, 20 years after he was elected to that post for the first time, Paul Pate immediately set out to increase participation in Iowa elections by instituting online voter registration. More than 100,000 Iowans utilized the system in its first three years and more than 250,000 newly registered voters joined the rolls by July 2018.
Secretary Pate also worked with the Iowa Legislature to enact the Safe at Home program in Iowa. Safe at Home is aimed at protecting survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking and stalking by keeping their address confidential. It was passed by both chambers unanimously. The program went into effect in January 2016.
Secretary Pate served as President of the National Association of Secretaries of State in 2019-20. He earned the organization’s NASS IDEAS Award in 2019 for Iowa’s efforts in strengthening election cybersecurity statewide. Pate currently co-chairs NASS’ Cybersecurity Committee. In 2015, Pate was chosen for the Council of State Governments’ Toll Fellowship program, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious leadership development programs for state government officials.
Pate’s voter education efforts have been recognized nationally. His office is the recipient of the 2019 ‘Clearie’ Award for Improving Accessibility for Voters with Disabilities from the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission. The National Student/Parent Mock Election organization rewarded Secretary Pate with the Outstanding Leadership in Voter Education award in 2016. On multiple occasions, Pate’s Youth Straw Polls have garnered more than 55,000 participants from more than 250 schools around the state.
Under Secretary Pate’s leadership, the office launched a Fast Track Filing system for new businesses in 2018. The system enables businesses to file documents within a few minutes. The process previously took up to three weeks. Pate’s goal is to operate the office at the speed of business, not the speed of government.
Paul Pate is also a nationally recognized small business leader, a father of three and grandfather of five. He and his wife Jane live in Cedar Rapids.