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Responsive Gov’s Grade TL;DR

The Iowa Legislature remained mostly quiet on election law changes this past session. However, both the Legislature and Secretary of State Pate succumbed to partisan political pressure and took action to leave the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a highly effective multistate, bipartisan organization that helps states maintain accurate voter rolls. Because of this, Iowa received a D on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where Iowa Started at the Beginning of 2023

  • Automatic Voter Registration: No
  • Online Voter Registration: DMV ID
  • Same-Day Registration: Yes
  • Restoration of Rights: Some Lifetime Disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: No-Excuse
  • Electronic Registration Information Center Member: Yes
  • Early Voting Opportunities: Regular Ballot Early Voting
  • ID Requirements: ID Requested, but not Required

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Iowa as of 2022, we considered the state a middle tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2023 activity against other middle tier states.

How Our Tier Compares

  • COVI (2022): 23rd
  • EPI Score (2020): 3rd
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 6/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): FAIR

2023: This Past Year

Legislative Action

The Legislature made one small, but detrimental change to the state registrar’s list maintenance duties.

  • H 716 repeals a section of code that required the state registrar to use ERIC to make updates to the statewide voter registration system. The bill also allows each political party to set the rules for participating in its caucus.

Executive Action

  • Unfortunately, Iowa joined the list of states that left ERIC last year. Although Secretary Pate had praised the organization’s work as late as February 2023 for helping the state remove deceased voters from the rolls, the secretary abruptly reversed course and recommended the state leave the group just one month later.