Iowa’s incoming Secretary of State expects a new online voter registration program to be ready by the time Iowans vote on the next president. That program likely will require state-issued photo identification. The state’s Voter Registration Commission met Tuesday morning to receive public comments on a proposed rule that would allow Iowa residents to register to vote online. Initially, users will need state-issued photo identification to use the program. Paul Pate, who was elected in November, will continue the work of outgoing Secretary of State Matt Schultz to implement the online registration program, which Pate hopes to have implemented in time for the 2016 elections. “My goal is well before the next election cycle we would have this in place at some level and keep expanding on it as we have the resources to do that,” Pate said.
The vast majority of Iowans — 94 percent, according to the Secretary of State’s office — have the kind of photo identification that will be required to register online. Pate said he expects to establish the program for those residents, then find ways to create access for others.
“We start with what we can do today, and clearly, we can do the driver’s license. So, let’s get that moving,” Pate said. “But if we’re going to use that as one of the vehicles to move this along, let’s make sure that we don’t do it in a way that we can’t add things on.”