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Iowans Urged to Handle Voter Registration Ahead of Fall Elections

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Tuesday, September 28, 2021   

DES MOINES, Iowa -- In five weeks, voters in many Iowa cities will cast their ballots for local elections, and the Secretary of State's office is using a September holiday to remind residents to take care of an important part of the process.

National Voter Registration Day is observed on the fourth Tuesday of September. The state recently mailed out reminders to the 50,000 unregistered Iowans eligible to vote.

Kevin Hall, communications director for the Iowa Secretary of State's office, said it is important all voters make sure their information is up-to-date, especially if they moved recently or have not cast a ballot for some time.

"We're a very easy state to register to vote," Hall explained. "We have online voter registration. You can register to vote at the polls on Election Day as long as you bring an I-D and proof of residency."

However, Iowa has slipped in national rankings that measure access to civic engagement, and the state is still being scrutinized over recent election law changes.

But Hall insisted Iowa still is a leader in registration, noting the process only takes a few minutes. Those without internet access or a mode of transportation, can call their county auditor and have a registration form mailed to them. The pre-registration deadline is Oct. 18. Iowans can also pick up forms at several state agencies or their local library.

Hall noted Iowa still is placing emphasis on getting younger adults to register. Following a state law change a few years ago, 17-year-olds can register, so long as they turn 18 by the general election.

"That 18-to-24-year-old age group; it's been a struggle to get them engaged as older demographics," Hall reported.

The office said it sees hope, pointing out nearly two dozen high-schools last year were awarded for meeting registration benchmarks.

Iowa's registration system received scrutiny earlier in 2021 when hundreds of 17-year-olds were removed from registration rolls. At the time, the office noted it was part of "voter list maintenance as required by state and federal law." Rules surrounding the practice were subsequently updated.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.


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