Secretary of State Paul Pate says 90 percent of eligible Iowans are registered to vote and he estimates the 10 percent who are not come from one age group.

“Younger voters have a problem, sometimes, connecting to why they should vote,” Pate says. “…Some of them are in transit. They might be here going to school and they haven’t put their roots down, so they aren’t being a voter yet.”

Today is National Voter Registration Day. The next round of voting in Iowa is on November 7th, for city elections. Pate, who is the former mayor of Cedar Rapids, is encouraging Iowans to mark this “Voter Registration Day” by ensuring they can easily vote in those elections.

“If you need to update your voter registration because you moved, this is a chance to do that or if you’re a new voter — step up,” Pate says. “We’re encouraging high schools to reach out to their students who are 17-and-a-half and register them. I’m going to visit some schools to remind them of that fact.”

You have to be 18 on Election Day to vote. New verification procedures for Iowa voters don’t go into effect until the 2019 elections. This December, Pate will be sending voter registration cards through the mail to Iowans who do not have a drivers license to use as a photo ID at their polling place. An estimated five percent of eligible voters do not have a driver’s license, according to Pate, and will get a free voter registration card.

“If they should, for some reason, not get it, we’ll send them another one until they acknowledge they have not received it,” Pate says. “We’re developing that right now, working with the Post Office, working with our consultants, so we can make this as seamless and user friendly as possible.”

Pate says there will be a “soft roll out” during 2018 elections. Iowans will be asked to show a photo ID at their precincts, but they won’t be barred from casting a ballot if they don’t have one. Starting in 2019, though, Iowans who fail to show a photo ID will be required to cast a provisional ballot and then return to their county auditor’s office later with an ID to prove they’re an eligible voter.