Tomorrow is the last day to register to vote with your county auditor, but on primary day — Tuesday, June 3 — Iowans will be able to register to vote at their precinct polling place. "They will have the opportunity, unlike they’ve ever had before, and that is to register and vote on election day, so it’ll be a good test for the county commissioners to put this in place because in November there will be a flood of people coming to the voting places to vote," says Secretary of State Michael Mauro, the state’s commissioner of elections.
Iowa patterned the rules for same-day voter registration after the state of Minnesota which has allowed same-day registration for over 30 years. "We went up there and visited Minnesota and both Democrats and Republicans have accepted it there," Mauro says. "…We have some real good safeguards in there being that you have to show a picture…identification card. You have to sign an oath attesting that you live in that…place. The county commissioners are going to send notices out there to follow up on those individuals and if any of those come back, you’re facing a felony charge, prosecution and fine."
Mauro says if you haven’t registered to vote, it will take a while to go through the steps, so it’s best to register in advance so your name will be in the poll book and you’ll be automatically given a ballot to vote, making the process quicker.
Mauro suggests June 3 will be a good test-run for same-day voter registration as turnout for the primary will likely be "relatively" low. "I don’t think our turnout across the state is going to be anything spectacular," Mauro says. "The reason why I say that is if you take a look at our statewide ballot…you have races unopposed on both the Democratic and Republican side." There is only one statewide race on the ballot.
Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, is unopposed in his bid for reelection. Three Republicans are vying for the G.O.P. nomination to face Harkin in November.
Mauro made his comments during taping of the IPTV program, "Iowa Press," which airs tonight at 7:30.