Registration Deadline: Voter pre-registration deadlines:
- 10 days before General and Primary elections
- 11 days before all other elections
When you pre-register, your name will appear on the election register at your polling place. This allows you to sign in quickly when you arrive on Election Day. If you were not able to pre-register to vote, you may register to vote on Election Day at the polling place for the precinct where you currently live. For more information, visit Election Day Registration.
If you are a college student, you may choose to register to vote at your home address or at your college address. You cannot register to vote at both
Ballots are secret and voters have the right to vote for any candidate they want.
The only time that party affiliation is important in terms of voting is in the case of a political party caucus or a primary election. In those cases, voters must be registered with the political party whose caucus or primary they wish to participate in. Voters have the right to change their affiliation and then participate in the caucus or primary election on the day those events are being held. (Ex. Someone who is registered as a Republican may participate in the Democratic primary election by changing his or her political affiliation to Democratic on the day the primary election is held and vice versa,)
Voters can only participate in one party's caucus or primary election each time those events take place.
VOTER REGISTRATION QUALIFICATIONS
Age: At least 17 1/2 years old (must be 18 years old by election day to vote).
Citizenship: Must be a United States citizen
Residency: Must be a resident of Iowa
Mental Competency: Not currently been judged mentally incompetent to vote by a court
Felony Convictions: Not be a convicted felon (unless your voting rights have been restored).
ID Requirements: ID requirements must consist of a photo ID that is current, valid, and contain an expiration date. The following are acceptable Ids:
-Iowa Driver's license
-IA non-driver ID card
-Out-of-state driver's license or non-driver ID card
-U.S. Military ID
-ID card issued by employer
-Student ID issued by Iowa high school or college
OBTAINING A VOTER REGISTRATION FORM
Online: Iowa Voter Registration Form
Voters can also register in person at:
- Iowa Secretary of State's Office
- County auditors' offices
- Driver's license stations
- Public assistance agencies
- State offices serving people with disabilities
- Some city clerks' offices and school board secretaries' offices
- Public libraries
- Political party offices
By mail/ in writing: Pick up a voter registration form from one of the above locations or print it out and mail it into your local county auditor's office.
By fax: Contact your local county auditor's office for faxing options.
Other Voter Registration Application Information: You will lose your voter registration status if the county auditor's office try to contact you by mail and the piece of mail was returned undeliverable.
VERIFYING YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION STATUS
Online: Iowa Voter Registration Verification
Phone: Contact your County Auditor's Office
ABSENTEE BALLOT QUALIFICATIONS
Who can vote absentee: Any registered voter in Iowa may request an absentee ballot through their county auditor.
Other absentee voter qualifications:Voters must complete an absentee ballot request form for each election for which they would like an absentee ballot.
OBTAINING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT
Online: Download a form and turn it in either by mail or in person.
In person: You may cast an absentee ballot in person at your county auditor's office before any election.
You must vote your absentee ballot at the auditor’s office. You cannot take the ballot home with you.
For voters who need assistance in marking their ballots, an accessible ballot marking device is available at the county auditor’s office.
For primary and general elections, absentee ballots will be available no earlier than 40 days at the county auditors’ offices. For all other elections, ballots will be available as soon as they are ready.
In-person absentee voting is not available on election day at the auditor’s office unless the polls open at noon. If the polls open at noon, you may cast an absentee ballot at the county auditor’s office from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on election day.
By mail: You may request an absentee ballot by completing a ballot request form and return it to your county auditor.
Military and overseas voting: As a military voter, you may be eligible to return your voted ballot by fax or email by close of election day if you are:
-An active member of the army, navy, marine corps, merchant marine, coast guard, air force, or Iowa National Guard and are outside the U.S. or any of its territories;
-Located in an area designated as "imminent danger pay area" by the U.S. Department of Defense
Without these exceptions you may return your ballot by mail and it must be postmarked by the Monday before election day and received in the county auditor's office no later than noon on the Monday following the election.
More information can be found here: Iowa Military and Overseas Absentee Voter Procedures
Other absentee ballot information:The absentee ballot request form must be received in the county auditor's office by 5 p.m. on the Friday before the election. If the request is so late that it is unlikely the absentee ballot can be returned by mail in time to be considered for counting, the county auditor will enclose a statement to that effect with the absentee ballot. No one can request a ballot for another person. Proxy request forms are available for use by certain family members to request absentee ballots for relatives who qualify for armed forces and overseas ballots. Proxy requests can be used in the General Election ONLY. For more information about proxy requests, contact your county auditor or see more information for Military & Overseas Voters.
SUBMITTING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT
Location and time: In order for the ballot to be counted, the carrier envelope must be received in the commissioner's office before the polls close on Election Day. Otherwise, the envelope should be clearly postmarked by an officially authorized postal service no later than the day before the election, and received by the commissioner no later than noon on the Monday following the election. If you are a qualified elector who becomes a patient or resident of a hospital or health care facility within three days prior to the date of an election, you may request an absentee ballot during that period or on Election Day. If you have not returned your absentee ballot on election day you may deliver your voted absentee ballot to the county auditor's office before the polls close on election day, surrender your voted absentee ballot and vote a regular ballot, or vote a provisional ballot at the polls if you cannot surrender your voted absentee ballot.
Early voting qualifications: Early voting and voting absentee in person follow the same method in Iowa. Any voter may register an absentee ballot and vote at a local auditor's office. For primary and general elections, absentee ballots will be available no earlier than 40 days at the county auditor's office. Other election's ballots will be available when they are ready.
Verifying Registration: Iowa Online Voter Registration Verification
Deciding how to vote: http://www.votesmart.org/
Time off to vote: Any voter who does not have three consecutive hours in the period between the time of the opening and the time of the closing of the polls during which they are not required to work may take as much time off of work as necessary to give then three consecutive hours in which to vote.
Polling Place: Online Voter Registration and Polling Place Finder
ID Requirements: You are encouraged to always bring identification with you when you vote. You may be asked to show identification if:
- You registered to vote by mail after January 1, 2003, and have never voted in a Primary or General election in your county
- You have moved from where you are registered to vote
- Your voter registration is inactive or pending
- Your right to vote has been challenged
- The precinct election officials do not know you
In order to register and vote at the polls on election day you must have both Proof of ID as well as proof of residence. Proof of ID is any of the following:
-Iowa non-driver ID card;
-Out-of-state driver's license or non-driver ID card;
-U.S. Military ID;
-ID card issued by employer;
-Student ID issued by Iowa high school or college;
Proof of residence is needed if your photo ID does not contain your current address, the following will prove residence:
-Government check or other government document
If you cannot prove who you are and where you live with the documents listed, a registered voter from your precinct may attest for you. Both you and the attester will be required to sign an oath swearing the statements being made are true.
How to Vote: Types of Elections in Iowa
- Optical scan
- Hand counted ballots
Getting your vote counted: Iowa Voters Rights and Responsibilities
Problems with voting: Call the Voter Fraud Hotline at 1-888-SOS-VOTE
Verifying provisional ballot status: Before you leave the polls on Election Day, you will be given a written notice explaining your voting rights and listing the date on which the special ballot board will meet so you may be present to observe and present more information to the board. If your ballot is not counted, you will receive a letter in the mail explaining why it was not counted.
Verifying absentee ballot status: Iowa Absentee Ballot Tracker