Voter pre-registration deadlines:
- 10 days before general elections
- 11 days before all other elections
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. If college students do not have an Iowa ID, all they have to do is register to vote before Election Day and they will be provided a Voter ID Card for free, automatically.
Party Affiliation: 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 other caucus or primary election by changing his or her political affiliation on the day of the caucus or primary election is held.
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 been judged mentally incompetent to vote by a court
Felony Convictions: Not be a convicted felon (unless your voting rights have been restored.) See Restoration of Rights for more information on restoration of voting rights for convicted felons).
Valid forms of ID
- Iowa non-driver ID card
- Out-of-state driver's license or non-driver ID card
- U.S. passport
- U.S. military ID
- ID card issued by employer
- Student ID issued by Iowa high school or college
- Tribal ID
During calendar year 2018 voters will be asked to show their ID before voting at the polls. Anyone who does not have the necessary ID will be asked to sign an oath verifying their identity, and will be allowed to cast a regular ballot.
Beginning January 1, 2019, Iowa voters will be required to show a driver’s license, non-driver’s ID, passport, military ID, veterans ID, or Voter ID Card at the polls before they vote. Voters without the necessary ID will be offered a provisional ballot and can provide ID up until the time of the county canvass of votes (Monday after election day for Primary and General Elections).
OBTAINING A VOTER REGISTRATION FORM
Online: Iowa Voter Registration Form
In person: County auditors' offices
By fax: Contact your local county auditor's office for faxing options.
VERIFYING YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION STATUS
ABSENTEE BALLOT QUALIFICATIONS
Who can vote absentee: Any registered voter in Iowa may request an absentee ballot
OBTAINING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT
The request form must be received in the county auditor's office by 5 p.m. on the Friday, eleven days before the election. If the request is for the general election, the deadline to request a ballot by mail is the Saturday, ten days before the election.
Online: Download a request form and turn it in either by mail or in person.
By mail: You may request an absentee ballot by completing a ballot request form and return it to your county auditor.
After receiving a request form, the county auditor will mail the voter a ballot. With the ballot, the county auditor will include instructions on how to mark the ballot as well as how to return the ballot.
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. 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.
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.
The request form must be received in the county auditor’s office by 5 p.m. on the Friday before the election.
SUBMITTING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT
By Mail: Absentee ballots received in the county auditor's office by the time the polls close on election day are eligible for counting.
Absentee ballots received after the polls close on election day must be postmarked by the Monday before election day or earlier and received in the county auditor's office no later than noon on the Monday following the election. For school and some city and special elections, the return deadline may be earlier. Read the instructions sent with the ballot.
Voted absentee ballots cannot be delivered to the polling place on election day. If you have not returned your absentee ballot on election day, you have the following options:
- Deliver your voted absentee ballot to the county auditor's office before the polls close on election day.
- Surrender your voted absentee ballot at the polls and vote a regular ballot, or
-Vote a provisional ballot at the polls if you cannot surrender your voted absentee ballot (for more information of provisional ballots, click here).
Deciding how to vote: https://votesmart.org
Polling Place: Online Polling Place Finder
Election Day FAQ: https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/voterinformation/edfaq.html
Problems with voting: Call the Voter Hotline at 1-888-SOS-VOTE
Verifying absentee ballot status: Iowa Absentee Ballot Tracker
Voting with disabilities: https://sos.iowa.gov/disabilities.html
Voting on election day: https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/voterinformation/electionday.html