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Iowa’s Secretary of State (SOS) Paul Pate will ask to change state laws this year to require Iowans show identification when voting at the polls or absentee.  Secretary Pate discussed his plans with legislators this week, but told them he would not be requiring a photo ID.  Secretary Pate said his plan will “make it easy to vote, but tough to cheat.”     The plan will:

  • Require all voters to show their ID when voting at the polls.  Driver’s licenses, state IDs, military cards can be used. Free voter registration cards (no photo) will automatically be given to those without other IDs. These non-photo IDs would be similar to the voter registration cards you get today.
  • Iowans voting by absentee ballot will have to include the number on their voter registration card or ID when sending in their absentee ballot requests.   They will not have to show the ID to anyone.
  • Anyone without an ID can still vote.  “No one will be turned away,” said Secretary Pate.  Voters can cast a “provisional ballot” or can have another voter verify who they are. 

There are other changes, and the laws will not be fully enforced until after the 2018 elections.  That leaves plenty of time for educating the public about the new laws, and getting people used to the idea of showing an ID when voting. 

Secretary Pate’s bill has not yet been introduced; they wanted to make sure it was written correctly before it became public.  There is another, more strict voter ID bill that has been filed by Sen. Brad Zaun (SF 47).  It is not the same.

You can see frequently asked questions & a fact sheet about Secretary Pate’s Voter ID bill here.