Secretary Pate changes law to make Election Day registration easier

Written by Theresa Rose on May 17, 2018

ADEL – Secretary of State Paul Pate announces a significant change in Iowa’s election laws that makes it easier for voters to register at the polls on Election Day. The new law, which goes into effect immediately, allows proof of residence documents to be provided in an electronic format, such as on a cell phone. The provision is contained in Secretary Pate’s legislative bill, HF 2252, that was signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds on Wednesday.

Election Day voter registration requires a photo ID and proof of residency. College students expressed concerns that students living on-campus do not have easy access to a housing agreement. This law change will allow students to display housing agreements on their phones. Secretary Pate is encouraging every college and university in Iowa to provide all on-campus students with that documentation in advance of the 2018 elections.

Other forms of proof of residency in electronic form acceptable for Election Day registration include bank statements, utility bills, cell phone bills, and paychecks.

“Most Iowans receive these documents in electronic form already, so this is a natural progression to keep pace with technology while maintaining the integrity of the vote,” Secretary Pate said. “I want every eligible Iowan to participate in our elections, and this is just one more way that we’re making it easy to vote, but hard to cheat.”

Housing documents for college students must be placed on the college or university’s official letterhead. If sent via email, it must be contained in a separate, personalized PDF document and include the student’s full legal name, the dates of the housing agreement, and full address.

Iowans can begin using the electronic forms for proof of residency in the June 5 primary elections. Proof of residency is not required for Iowans that are already registered to vote within their precinct.

For more information on Iowa’s election laws and to be prepared for the 2018 elections, visit