Vote in upcoming primary elections

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Pau Pate, guest columnist

Primary Election Day is June 7, and I encourage all eligible Iowans to make their voices heard by participating. Exercising the right to vote is one of our most important civic duties. We are very privileged to live in this great country where we have the freedom to choose our elected representatives.

Primary elections do matter and your vote counts. Primaries allow you to have a say on who will actually be on the ballot in November. One of my top goals as Iowa’s Commissioner of Elections is to increase voter participation. If you do not vote, you give up your voice in decisions that impact you, your family and your community.

There are several contested primary races this year in Iowa, including for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Iowa Senate, Iowa House, and perhaps even in the races to determine your county sheriff, auditor and supervisors. I encourage you to learn more about the candidates and make an informed decision on June 7. Find out what they stand for and pick the ones who cherish the values and principles that are the same or similar to yours. An informed electorate is the best electorate. The more voters know about the candidates, the better choices they will make and the better representatives we will have in our government.

If you are not already registered to vote, it is easier now than ever. Iowa has six different ways to register to vote, including online and at your polling place on Election Day. It is important to remember that to participate in the Republican primary, you have to be registered as a Republican. If you want to vote in the Democratic primary, you have to register as a Democrat.

Independents can still have a say in who wins the primaries by requesting a Republican or Democratic Party’s ballot at their polling place or through absentee/early voting. That will officially change their registration to that party.

I am proud that more than 80 percent of eligible Iowans are registered to vote. I would like to see that number continue to climb and I would like to see everyone participate in our elections. Cherish this privilege.

Please, make your voice heard and vote on June 7.

• Paul Pate is Iowa’s secretary of state. Comments: Paul.Pate@sos.iowa.gov

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