Guest Columnist

Be voter ready Feb. 6

A man votes at Lovely Lane United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
A man votes at Lovely Lane United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Voters in nearly half of Iowa’s counties will go the polls Feb. 6 to cast votes on school and community college issues. These elections will be some of Iowa’s first under the provisions of the Election Modernization and Integrity Act. It is important to make your voice heard and to be “voter ready.”

My office recently launched the #VoterReady initiative to make sure Iowans are prepared for the 2018 elections. It’s simple: Register to vote, bring your ID, cast your ballot. Throughout 2018, we are conducting a soft rollout of the voter ID requirement. That means voters will be asked to provide identification. However, if you do not have your ID, you still will be allowed to cast a regular ballot after signing an oath. You also can have another registered voter attest to your identity.

I want all eligible Iowans to participate in our elections. This law is about making it easy to vote, but hard to cheat. No eligible voter will be turned away.

Acceptable forms of ID at the polls include a valid Iowa driver’s license or non-operator’s ID, military ID, veterans ID, U.S. passport, or a voter ID card. We mailed voter ID cards to 120,000 Iowans in December who did not possess a valid Iowa driver’s license or non-operator’s ID. If this applies to you and you have not received a voter ID card, please contact your county auditor’s office.

Election Day registration remains an option as well. You will need to present a current photo ID and proof of residency to register at the polls.

Iowa is one of the most accessible states in the country when it comes to voting. We are one of only seven states that offers Election Day voter registration, online voter registration, no-fault absentee voting and early voting. We are one of only eight states that offers Election Day and online voter registration. Our early voting period is among the 10 longest in the nation.

It’s easy to register, easy to vote, but hard to cheat and no eligible voter will be turned away. Be voter ready, Iowans. You’ve got this.

• Paul Pate is Iowa’s secretary of state.

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