Iowa Secretary of State
Voter Ready Iowa

Encouraging voters to make their voice heard.


The Iowa Secretary of State’s Office was challenged with encouraging voter participation in the 2020 primary and general elections amid a global pandemic. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, absentee voting was to be heavily encouraged as an alternative to traditional, in-person voting. ZLR worked with the Iowa Secretary of State (SOS)’s Office with the goal of increasing overall voter turnout and spreading awareness of voting options to people across Iowa.


The ZLR team created all advertising in house using an illustration style that allowed for safe production during the pandemic. The tone was informative and objective, helping to educate Iowans on the simple voting process and options to vote absentee or safely in person.

Voter Ready social ads on phones

For the general election, ZLR took a three-phased approach to messaging. Phase one messaging encouraged Iowans to request absentee ballots if they intended to vote by mail. Phase two reminded Iowans that they could vote absentee and to return their absentee ballots on time. Phase three promoted voting in person as election day approached, highlighting the measures in place for a safe voting experience. Each phased was timed to align with the in-person and absentee dates.

Voter Ready carousel social ad

The 2020 primary election saw 529,586 votes from Iowa adults, 411,767 of which were submitted absentee — a 45.5% increase in overall voter turnout and an 87.6% increase in absentee voting from the 2018 primary election.


Roughly 1.7 million votes were cast in the 2020 general election, an increase of 115,629 more total Iowa voters and 354,421 absentee voters compared to Iowa’s number in the 2016 general election.