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The Governor is expected to sign HF 516 into law soon, making Iowa the 33rd state to require some form of identification when voting.  Seven states now require a photo ID in order to vote, but Iowa's proposed law does not require a photo ID. Iowans who are currently registerd to vote, but do not have an Iowa driver's license or ID, will be automatically sent a new voter card.  New voters will also receive a card when they register to vote.  

That bill also shortens the time for early voting from 40 days before the election to 29 days before the election.  Many Iowans choose to vote early because of class schedules, work trips, transportation or staffing issues, and just personal desire to get their vote in early.  Iowa's military personnel living overseas still have the full 40 days to vote (that's federal law).

If you are someone whose signature changes frequently (or you use a stamp or have someone else sign for you), you will want to know your rights under this new bill.  The bill allows a pollworker to challenge your identity if your signature doesn't match.  This is really an issue of poll worker training, but Iowans with disabilities will want to make sure they know their rights, and the bill does state that the person's signature is presumed valid (so they are supposed to have another reason to challenge your identity).  This is also something ID Action will be working on with the Secretary of State's office, so stay tuned.

Iowans frustrated with the timing of school board elections (held in September) will be happy to know that the Legislature passed a bill (HF 566) that now requires them to be held at the same time as city elections (held in November).  School elections have very low turnout and cost a lot to administer.  Counties supported the change because it saves money, and the legislators sponsoring this say it will boost turnout.   

Young voters will be able to pick their party's candidate in a primary, even if they are only seventeen at the time.  HF 516 allows seventeen-year-olds to vote in the June primary elections, as long as they will be eighteen years old by Election Day.  Primaries in Iowa are closed events (that is, only members of a political party can vote in them). Because a primary is the political party's way of picking their candidate for the general election, legislators thought it only appropriate that all of the people that will be voting in November get a chance to pick who they want to represent their party (even 17 year olds).

We know that changes to voting laws can be scary, but ID Action has your back. We have spent a lot of time and resources over the years on voter training, and we are already meeting with the Secretary of State's office to work on a new educational campaign to prepare you for these new voting laws.  While the voting laws go into effect July 1, 2017, they will not be enforced until January 1, 2019 (so after the 2018 election).  So we have time to make sure everyone knows what to expect on Election Day!

Stay tuned for more information, or contact ID Action if you want to get on the list to host a voter training, need more information, or want to volunteer to help in other ways (866-432-2846 or