Signing up to vote in Iowa will now be just be a few clicks away, as the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office prepares launches a new online voter registration system. The system is a first for Iowa, and a project Secretary of State Paul Pate’s office has been working on for most of 2015. The system utilizes the Department of Transportation’s database to register any Iowan with a state driver’s license or DOT-issued I.D. card as a voter, completely replacing the paper form. Since its activation no January 1, the office reports 28 people have already registered to vote online. But some advocacy groups in the state are crying foul.
“We applaud the Secretary of State’s Office for pursuing online voter registration,” said Veronica Fowler with the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa. “The problem is that the system excludes 146,000 people, who don’t have access.”
Those people “without access” Fowler is referring to are the approximately 145,600 Iowans the DOT estimates who don’t have a driver’s license or state-issued I.D. Groups like the ACLU say if people don’t need an I.D. to register in person, why would they need one to do so online?
“A lot of these people are elderly and they don’t drive. Or maybe they are impoverished and don’t own a car. Or they have a handicap that doesn’t allow them to drive,” Fowler said. “And those are people that need access to online voter registration, perhaps as much, or even more, than any other population.”