Sep 28, 2022 - Politics

Iowa Democratic voter registrations drop 15%

Illustration of a large shoe about to step on a tiny voting booth. 

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Iowa Democrats lost about 103,000 active registered voters, a 15% loss, since November 2020, according to data from the Iowa Secretary of State's office.

  • Meanwhile: Active Republican voter registrations slid just 5% — just over 36,000 votes.

Why it matters: The loss could signal trouble for Democrats come Nov. 8.

By the numbers: Republicans have been able to reverse some of the losses in the last year, gaining just over 20,000 active registrations through Sept. 1. Democrats lost more than 15,000 during that period.

  • Republicans now have more than 683,000 registered voters. Democrats have 596,000.

Zoom in: The statewide trends are reflected in Polk, Warren and Dallas counties.

  • Democrats lost just over 19,000 active registered voters combined in those three counties since November 2020 while Republicans lost about 7,600.

What they're saying: Polk County Democrats sent an email to supporters in July calling the data "stomach churning."

  • They contend that a "Pate purge" is at work and that Democrats are disproportionately affected. That's a reference to an election law revised last year.
  • It requires Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate to move voters to an inactive status if they didn't participate in the last general election or update registration information.

The bottom line: Registrations are important in all races but could be especially acute in close congressional or statewide races, Dennis Goldford, a political science professor at Drake University told Axios.

  • U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne's challenge from Republican state Sen. Zach Nunn is one race where registration numbers could have significant influence, he said.

Of note: Voters can check their status or get registered online.

Change in active registered voters in Iowa
Data: Iowa Secretary of State's Office; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios
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