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Early Voting Starts in Primary Elections; Iowa's Voter ID Law Rolls Out Statewide

Early voting started Monday for the June 5th primary elections for Iowa governor, U.S. representatives, and other offices. It marks the first statewide use of Iowa’s new voter ID law, which was signed into law in 2017.

Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald says if voters register by May 25, they don’t need an ID to vote in-person.

“So you can sign an oath of identity saying, ‘I’m Joe Voter, I’m in the pre-registration book. I either don’t have my ID or I prefer not to give it.’ For 2018, that’s an option for everybody,” Fitzgerald says.

He says this is the “soft rollout” of the law, and IDs will be required in 2019.

Fitzgerald says the early voting period is eleven days shorter under the new law, and voters have less time to request an absentee ballot.

“We stop mailing ballots on May 25th,” Fitzgerald says. “So if you want a ballot mailed to you, you have about an 18-day window to get your absentee ballot request in to your county auditor.”

The new law requires those voting by mail to include their driver’s license or non-operator ID number. People without IDs can get a voter PIN number in the mail from their county auditor.

“I think anytime you change the law, and we don’t spend a lot of time explaining all of the intricacies and all the nuances of the law, you’re going to have some problems the first couple of times out,” Fitzgerald said.

He added some absentee voters may not be aware of the new deadline for requesting a ballot.

The secretary of state’s office has instructions posted here.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter