“It’s the new year,” says Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate. “You want to start fresh and you want to extend to people one more opportunity.”
“Electronic registration” went live on January 1 and, so far, about 200 people have used this new online method. It’s located on the Iowa DOT’s website and the Iowa Secretary of State’s website has a link to it as well.
“There’ll be an area right on there for voter registration. You click on it and it’ll basically walk you through three or four basic steps to verify you are who you say you are and to let you indicate which political party you want to choose and we’ll get you registered and then you’ll get an email receipt showing that you’re registered,” Pate says. “…Within seven days your local county auditor will mail you your official voter registration card.”
Some of the people who’re planning to participate in the February 1st Iowa Caucuses may choose this quick, online tool to either register to vote for the first time — or to update other information.
“It’s designed so that you can keep your driver’s license information current as well as voter registration information current,” Pate says. “If you got married and want to change your name or if you moved…and if you want to change your political party, these are all reasons why you might want to go online and do it.”
For years, Iowans have been able to register to vote when they renew their driver’s license and the DOT has been cross-checking government lists to ensure the person is a legal voter. Mark Lowe of the Iowa DOT says after his agency launched its online drivers license renewal process, it developed this new online voter registration system.
“I suspect it’s something that other states will be interested in,” Lowe says.
It appears no other state has this kind of 24/7 website that immediately confirms a voter has successfully completed the registration process. Iowans can now register to vote online, if they have a driver’s license or a state-issued ID. Iowans can still register to vote at a government office or through the mail. Iowa law also allows people to register on Election Day or at their precinct on Caucus Night.