As Iowa’s controversial voter identification law is poised to start taking effect, Secretary of State Paul Pate said Monday his office plans to begin mailing ID cards this month to about 123,000 registered voters who do not already have a valid Iowa driver’s license or state identification card. The cards are free and will be sent automatically to roughly 6 percent of Iowa’s registered voters. Pate, who serves as the state’s elections commissioner, said the process is designed to ensure all registered voters in Iowa have an identification card to use when voting, starting with the 2018 elections.
“It should be easy to vote, but hard to cheat, and that’s what this new law ensures,” Pate said in a statement. “We are taking the unprecedented step of mailing free voter ID cards automatically to every registered voter who does not already have an Iowa driver’s license or non-driver’s ID. Only those Iowans will receive these cards. I encourage them to be on the lookout for the Voter ID cards in the mail, and when they receive their card, open it, sign it and keep it.”
Registered voters who have a valid driver’s license or a non-operator identification card from the Iowa Department of Transportation will not receive a free card. They will need to take their current state-issued ID with them to the polls beginning January 2018, according to Pate’s office.