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3056 Iowa 17 year olds already registered to vote when they turn 18


September 19th, 2023 by Jim Field

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is visiting 70 Iowa schools this fall to encourage 17 year olds to register to vote now, so they’re ready to cast a ballot when they turn 18.

Pate’s office sponsors an annual contest. If 90 percent of eligible 17 year olds in a high school register to vote, the school gets a trophy.

Pate spoke with students in a couple of West Des Moines Valley classes Monday and has dozens more school visits on his schedule today (Tuesday), which is National Voter Registration Day. So far, 86 Iowa schools have indicated they’re encouraging students to register to vote.

Iowa is one of nine states that let 17 year olds submit voter registrations if they will be 18 by the time of the next election. Fifteen other states allow 16 year olds to pre-register, so they’re ready to vote when they’re 18. Pate says he reminds Iowa students about the Caucuses, since both of Iowa’s major state parties allow 17 year olds to be full participants in the Caucuses if they’ll be 18 by the next General Election.

As of today there are just over three-thousand 17-year-olds registered to vote in Iowa. Pate hopes the contest spurs at least eight-thousand more eligible 17
years old to go online and register.