(Des Moines, IA) Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announced the “Voter Ready” outreach initiative Thursday to ensure Iowans are informed about recent election law changes, including the implementation of Voter ID. The “Voter Ready” educational effort breaks down the process into three simple action steps: register to vote, bring your ID, cast your ballot. Iowans who follow those three steps will have an easy time participating in the 2018 elections.
Pate’s “Voter Ready” initiative includes a free, customizable toolkit the Secretary of State’s Office will supply to any group interested in helping Iowans vote. Many of the educational materials in the toolkit were derived from feedback received during a roundtable discussion that included the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, LULAC, AARP, the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, Disability Rights Iowa, all three political parties, college students, county auditors, and others. Secretary Pate has also partnered with West Des Moines-based marketing firm Strategic America to conduct outreach to voters statewide.
“It is time for all of us to work together to make sure Iowa voters know about the election law changes and what to expect when casting their ballot,” Pate said. “I want every eligible Iowan to participate in our elections. It’s not complicated, and we want Iowans to understand that.”
Secretary Pate stressed that no eligible voter will be turned away from the polls. The new law includes a soft rollout for 2018. This year, poll workers will ask voters to provide their Iowa driver’s license or non-operator’s ID, a U.S. passport, a veterans ID, a military ID, or a Voter ID card. However, a voter who does not have an ID will be allowed to cast a regular ballot after signing an oath that swears to their identity. Voters can also have another registered voter attest to their identity.
“This toolkit will provide an important resource in our effort to educate our constituency and prepare capable and confident voters. I appreciate Secretary Pate and his staff reaching out to groups like ours to provide input on how best to reach Iowa voters with the educational materials they have developed,” said Rik Shannon, public policy manager for the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council.
“We will use this toolkit to prepare the voters in our county and I will encourage auditors around the state to do so as well. Knowledge about the process will alleviate any fears voters might have,” said Page County Auditor Melissa Wellhausen. “They will see this process is just as simple as cashing a check or a variety of other things Iowans do on a regular basis.”
Secretary Pate plans to travel across the state to help educate Iowans about the new requirements. The Secretary of State’s Office will be conducting a statewide “Voter Ready” tour, holding educational summits, meeting with key stakeholder groups, and promoting the facts through various channels to make sure the correct information is received by Iowa voters. The statewide tour begins later this month. Iowans wanting more information about the election law changes can visit sos.iowa.gov/voterid.
“The League of Women Voters of Metro Des Moines is pleased to help Iowa voters understand how the new Voter Integrity Law will impact them. We are committed to helping all eligible voters get registered to vote. No eligible Iowa voter will be turned away at the polls, and the Iowa Secretary of State’s outreach to voters provides excellent, easy-to-understand information for Iowa citizens,” said Karla Brizzi, voter registration and education chair for the League of Women Voters of Metro Des Moines.
Groups wishing to utilize the “Voter Ready” toolkit should send an email to [email protected].