Paul D. Pate
Secretary of State
Des Moines, IA 50319
|OFFICE OF THE IOWA SECRETARY OF STATE|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Registering to vote is the first step in making your voice heard in November’s election
Iowa is a national leader in voter participation and registration. As Iowa’s State Commissioner of Elections, I want to see every eligible Iowan to vote, and it starts with voter registration. Iowans have a lot to be proud of when it comes to civic engagement and voter participation, and we honor these achievements throughout the entire month of September, which is nationally recognized as National Voter Registration Month.
Today, approximately 90 percent of eligible Iowans are registered to vote. In last year’s Midterm Election, more than 1.2 million Iowans voted – the second highest turnout in state history for a midterm. Throughout National Voter Registration Month in September 2022, more than 12,000 Iowans registered to vote. In Iowa, we’ve made it easy to vote and hard to cheat.
But there is still work to do. We can increase voter participation and registration in Iowa—top priorities for my office—and we’ve implemented several measures to help support Iowans who want to register to vote.
Americans have reported not registering to vote for several reasons, and this is exactly why civic holidays like National Voter Registration Month are so important.
- Missing the deadline to register. Iowa has same-day voter registration, so Iowans can show up to the polls on Election Day, register to vote in person, and participate in the elections process. For Election Day registration, Iowans still need proof of identity and residence. Election Day registration is also eligible for Iowans who choose in-person absentee voting at county auditor offices after the pre-registration deadline.
- No knowledge of where or how to register to vote. Iowans can register to vote online, by mail, in person at their county auditors office, or in person at your Election Day polling site.
- Lack of time or transportation. In Iowa, registering to vote online takes just three minutes! You just need your Iowa driver’s license or non-operator ID and the last five digits of your Social Security Number.
- Perceived complexity of the voter registration process. We have worked hard to make it easy to register to vote in Iowa, and Iowans can register online and find additional information on voter registration at VoterReady.Iowa.gov.
- Privacy concerns. Iowans can enroll in our Safe at Home address confidentiality program. This supports survivors of crimes such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, assault, trafficking, and stalking, gives them a substitute address, and allows enrolled Iowans to vote safely. We also work with a number of agency partners to ensure the elections process is cybersecure, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer.
- Young people unfamiliar with the elections process. Each year, my office works with high schools across the state to host voter registration drives. We provide high school teachers and administrators with resources and tools to register Iowans 17 and up and award schools who achieve high voter registration the Carrie Chapman Catt Award. We are currently participating in voter registration drives across the state, and schools interested in participating can visit sos.iowa.gov/youth/CarrieChapmanCattAward.
- Lack of understanding around eligibility. Some individuals, particularly those with felony convictions, may be unsure of their voting rights. To register to vote in Iowa, you must be at least 17 years old, a United States Citizen, and an Iowa resident. You cannot claim the right to vote in any other place or be a convicted felon unless your right to vote has been restored by the Governor, including through Executive Order after a felony conviction. To find out if you are eligible for voting rights restoration visit RestoreYourVote.Iowa.gov.
Established by the National Association of Secretaries of State in 2012, National Voter Registration Day is a nationwide, bipartisan effort to register as many eligible voters as possible and raise awareness on the importance of voter registration and participation.
Iowans can join me in celebrating National Voter Registration Day by registering to vote online, by mail, at their county auditor’s office, or in person on Election Day. For any Iowan planning to pre-register to vote before November’s City-School Election, the deadline to pre-register is Monday, October 23. We are also asking all Iowans to make sure their current voter registration is up to date in advance of the upcoming election.
Iowans who participate in elections can rest assured their vote is secure. Iowa has some of the safest and most secure elections – our state is ranked third in the nation for election administration. Our elections process works best when every eligible Iowan participates. Registering to vote takes less than three minutes, but Iowans can make a long-lasting impact in voicing their vote.
To check your registration status, register to vote, or update your information, visit VoterReady.Iowa.Gov.