Legislation that would allow online voter registration in Iowa advanced in the state Senate Wednesday. The bill received preliminary backing in a Senate subcommittee was set to go to the full State Government Committee for approval. Under the proposal, the Iowa Secretary of State would oversee an online voter registration system that would be available by 2015. Sen. Jeff Danielson, D- Cedar Falls, said he wants to make registration more “customer-friendly,” while still ensuring that the system is secure. Those registering would have to supply identifying information and meet voter eligibility standards. “We think government can adopt some of those business practices and be more customer-friendly, but also recognizing that there is an inherent right to vote,” Danielson said. Sen. Jake Chapman, R-Adel, declined to approve the bill in subcommittee, but said he thought it was moving in the right direction.
“My concerns have mostly been answered. The overall goal is to get those who are eligible to vote to get out and vote,” Chapman said. “I think the concept is great.”
The Secretary of State’s Office registered as undecided on the bill, but is supportive of the online registration concept, according to Elections Director Sarah Reisetter. She said the office was willing to work with lawmakers on the details of the bill.
Bridget Fagan, an organizer with the community advocacy group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, testified in favor of the bill at the subcommittee hearing.
“We’re for anything that makes it easier for people to vote,” Fagan said.