VRM in the States: Iowa

Iowa currently has the Electronic Registration at DMVs, Election Day Registration and Portability components of Voter Registration Modernization in place. Iowa also has electronic pollbooks in at least one county.

February 1, 2017

Advances in Voter Registration Modernization

  • Electronic Voter Registration: Iowa launched electronic voter registration at Department of Transportation (DOT) offices in 2006. DOT clerks input voters’ vocal responses electronically and collect signatures on an electronic pad. Voter registration information is automatically transferred daily to election officials.
  • Online Voter Registration: Iowa launched online voter registration through the DOT in 2016. Eligible citizens with a state driver’s license or non-driver ID can use the system to register to vote. Individuals can update their information by submitting a new registration form online.
  • Election Day Registration: Iowa implemented Election Day registration in 2007. Individuals may register and vote at the polls on Election Day or at their county auditor’s office during the early voting period.
  • Portability: Registered voters who move within the state without updating their registration can, on Election Day, fill out a new voter registration form at their new polling place and cast a regular ballot.
  • Electronic Pollbooks: At least one Iowa county used electronic pollbooks to sign in voters in 2014. 

Gains from Voter Registration Modernization in Iowa

The steps Iowa has taken thus far have yielded increases in voter registration and financial benefits for the state. For example:

  • During a May 2013 interview with Brennan Center staff, Iowa election officials reported that electronic registration has streamlined application processing and diminished errors, reducing the amount of time employees spend on voter registration.
  • DOT registration rates more than doubled in the years following the state’s implementation of electronic registration in 2006.  
  • For the 2014 general election, same day registrations constituted 2.5% of all registrations received in the two years preceding the election.