Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate explains the new online voter registration process.
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate explains Iowa’s online voter registration process.

Primary Election Day is Tuesday, June 7, and I encourage all eligible Iowans to make their voices heard by participating. Exercising the right to vote is one of our most important civic duties. We are very privileged to live in this great country where we have the freedom to choose our elected representatives.

Primary elections do matter and your vote counts. Primaries allow you to have a say on who will actually be on the ballot in November. One of my top goals as Iowa’s Commissioner of Elections is to increase voter participation. If you do not vote, you give up your voice in decisions that impact you, your family and your community.

There are several contested primary races this year in Iowa, including for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Iowa Senate, Iowa House, and perhaps even in the races to determine your county sheriff, auditor and supervisors. I encourage you to learn more about the candidates and make an informed decision on June 7. Find out what they stand for and pick the ones who cherish the values and principles that are the same or similar to yours. An informed electorate is the best electorate. The more voters know about the candidates, the better choices they will make and the better representatives we will have in our government.

If you are not already registered to vote, it is easier now than ever. Iowa has six different ways to register to vote, including online at sos.iowa.gov/voterinformation, and at your polling place on Election Day. It is important to remember that to participate in the Republican primary, you have to be registered as a Republican. If you want to vote in the Democratic primary, you have to register as a Democrat. Independents can still have a say in who wins the primaries by requesting a Republican or Democratic Party’s ballot at their polling place or through absentee/early voting. That will officially change their registration to that party.

For those of you who plan on voting by absentee ballot, I encourage you to get those in the mail as soon as possible. County auditors will accept any absentee ballots that are postmarked by June 6, but the sooner you turn those in, the better.

If you need to find your polling location, visit our website, sos.iowa.gov, click on ‘Find My Polling Place’, enter your address, and it will direct you where to go. The polls are open from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Primary Election Day. That 14-hour window is the second longest in the entire nation. Only New York State maintains longer polling hours.

Our website, sos.iowa.gov, is the place to go to find results on Election Night. My office is also available to help you with any voting related questions. You can reach us at 1-888-SOS-VOTE. Your county auditor’s office can also assist you.

I am proud that more than 80 percent of eligible Iowans are registered to vote. I would like to see that number continue to climb and I would like to see everyone participate in our elections. Cherish this privilege.

Please, make your voice heard and vote on Tuesday, June 7.

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