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How are Iowa's voter rolls maintained under the new law?

Some Iowans have questions about how the voter list will be maintained.

DES MOINES, Iowa — With more scrutiny on voter data, voter rolls, and how elections are conducted, there is a lot of information shared with the public. 

Not all of it is accurate.

One viewer, Gene Grell, sent Local 5 question about Iowa voter lists:

"There's information out there that the Secretary of State has been allowed to purge voters from the voters registration records. And supposedly some of those people are still alive and able to vote."

So we posed the question: Is the Iowa Secretary of State allowed to remove inactive voters from registration records?

Our sources:

  • Secretary Paul Pate
  • The Iowa State Association of County Auditors

Here's what we found: 

The Secretary of State's office maintains, by federal and state law, a statewide database of voter registration information. It shares and collects information from county auditors to maintain an accurate and up-to-date list.

"We routinely do maintenance on it," Pate said.

How? 

Under the new state law signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds this year, the state mails out information after each election, called "No Activity" mailing, to voters who did not vote in the most recent general election.

RELATED: 3 things to know about latest Iowa bill on absentee voting

If the voter doesn't respond to this mailing to confirm they are at the correct address, or doesn't update voter registration, or doesn't participate in any election between 2021 and 2024, the voter will be removed from the voter rolls after the 2024 general election.

"It's a routine thing that is legislated and required. And it's to make sure that only legitimate voters get a chance to vote," Pate said.

So the answer: Yes, the Iowa Secretary of State is allowed to remove inactive voters from registration records, but only after the voter doesn't take any of the above listed actions.

Pate added that even if a voter is deemed inactive for a period of time, that doesn't mean the voter is no longer registered to vote. Additionally, Iowa election law allows same-day voter registration for anyone eligible.

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