A Senate legislative panel Tuesday began work on a measure designed to make online voter registration available to more Iowans beyond the upgrade being planned by the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is working on a system with the state Department of Transportation that will offer the electronic registration option to anyone with a valid Iowa driver’s license or a state-issued identification card. However, Sen. Jeff Danielson, D-Waterloo, leader of a Senate State Government subcommittee, said Senate Study Bill 1152 would expand the online registration option to eligible voters who do not have access to a computer or face other challenges. He estimated that represented 7 percent to 9 percent of eligible Iowa voters.
Danielson said Iowa previously passed groundbreaking election reforms and partnered with county auditors to establish a voter-verified paper trail to help Iowa avoid “a Florida moment” similar to the 2000 presidential ballot-counting fiasco.
“We have one of the safest, most secure ways to verify a vote in the entire country,” Danielson said. The next logical step is to modernize the system using the latest technology to create “a 21st century solution to an age-old process,” he said, which requires perfecting things like electronic signatures and other verification features.