College Students and Voter ID

November 30, 2017

Earlier this year, the Iowa Legislature passed a new law requiring voters to show proof of identity. Iowa Campus Compact is working to get the word out about how the new law might impact students and what colleges and universities can do. Right now is a critical time for colleges and universities to share information with students and make plans for voter registration efforts.

Facts About the Law

The new voter identification law will require all Iowa voters to show one of the following forms of identification to vote in person:

  • driver’s license
  • official non-operator identification card
  • U.S. passport
  • military identification card
  • voter identification card (issued by Secretary of State’s office or County Auditor)

For 2018, voters will be asked to show one of these at the polls, but if they don’t have it, they can sign an oath and still vote.

To vote absentee, voters will have to provide the number from their driver’s license, official non-operator identification card, or voter identification card.

The Urgency of Now

On December 6, 2017, the Iowa Secretary of State’s office is issuing voter identification cards to all registered Iowa voters who do not have a driver’s license or official non-operator identification card. This includes any college student with a driver’s license in another state. These cards are very important, but many voters may not know whey they are getting them.  We recommend that colleges and universities help alert students that they will be receiving these cards in mail, and to let us know if they don’t receive one.

Early Registration is Vital

If students are not currently registered to vote, it’s vital that they get registered as much in advance of upcoming elections as possible. New voters who do not have the required identification will automatically receive a voter identification card. To make sure this is received in time to be used, early registration is key. This also applies to students who have changed addresses since they last registered and therefore may not get the original card.

We’re Here to Help

In partnership with Campus Election Engagement Project, Iowa Campus Compact is investing resources to support nonpartisan student voter registration and education efforts. We recently hired a statewide organizer, Samantha Bayne, who is available to help campuses create plans and access materials to help message these law changes.

Find out more here and contact Samantha for more information and support.