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Secretary Pate changes law to make Election Day registration easier
Paul D. Pate
Secretary of State
State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319
Iowa Secretary of State Seal WEBSITE:
Kevin Hall
Communications Director
(515) 725-2942
May 17, 2018

Secretary Pate changes law to make Election Day registration easier

ADEL – Secretary of State Paul Pate announces a significant change in Iowa's election laws that makes it easier for voters to register at the polls on Election Day. The new law, which goes into effect immediately, allows proof of residence documents to be provided in an electronic format, such as on a cell phone. The provision is contained in Secretary Pate's legislative bill, HF 2252, that was signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds on Wednesday.

"My staff and I have had several discussions with Iowa college students about the voting process. They told us this was an important component to make it easier for them to participate in elections, and I listened," Secretary Pate said during a Voter Ready Roundtable discussion in Dallas County on Thursday.

"I am so excited to see that students will be able to show residency documents in electronic form," said Samantha Bayne, Drake University student and state director of Campus Engagement Election project. "This new policy change will make same-day registration much more feasible and accessible for voters, especially college students. Thanks and congratulations to the Iowa Secretary of State's Office for their hard work in making this happen."

Election Day voter registration requires a photo ID and proof of residency. College students expressed concerns that students living on-campus do not have easy access to a housing agreement. This law change will allow students to display housing agreements on their phones. Secretary Pate is encouraging every college and university in Iowa to provide all on-campus students with that documentation in advance of the 2018 elections.

Other forms of proof of residency in electronic form acceptable for Election Day registration include bank statements, utility bills, cell phone bills, and paychecks

"Most Iowans receive these documents in electronic form already, so this is a natural progression to keep pace with technology while maintaining the integrity of the vote," Secretary Pate said. "I want every eligible Iowan to participate in our elections, and this is just one more way that we're making it easy to vote, but hard to cheat."

Housing documents for college students must be placed on the college or university's official letterhead. If sent via email, it must be contained in a separate, personalized PDF document and include the student's full legal name, the dates of the housing agreement, and full address.

Iowans can begin using the electronic forms for proof of residency in the June 5 primary elections. Proof of residency is not required for Iowans that are already registered to vote within their precinct.

"It's easier to register to vote ahead of Election Day and I encourage all Iowans to do that, but if you need to register to vote at the polls, that option is available and it just became easier to do that," Secretary Pate added.

House File 2252 passed the Iowa House on March 8, 58-40, and the Iowa Senate on May 5, 41-6. It received unanimous support from Republicans in the Iowa Legislature.

For more information on Iowa's election laws and to be prepared for the 2018 elections, visit