Voter Registration: Iowa
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.
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. For more information click on this link
VOTER REGISTRATION QUALIFICATIONS
Age: At least 17 years old. A person may vote if they will be 18 years old on or before election day. In the case of primary elections, a person may vote if they will be 18 years old on or before the corresponding regular election.
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).
OBTAINING A VOTER REGISTRATION FORM
Online: Iowa Voter Registration Form
In person: County auditors' offices
VERIFYING YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION STATUS
OBTAINING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT
By mail: 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.
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.
For primary and general elections, absentee ballots will be available no earlier than 29 days at the county auditors' offices. For all other elections, ballots will be available as soon as they are ready, but not sooner than 29 days before an election.
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.
Military and overseas voting: Information on military voting can be found here and information on overseas voting can be found here.
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).
Iowa voters are required to show an Iowa driver’s license or non-operator ID, U.S. passport, U.S. military ID or veteran’s ID, tribal ID/document or Iowa voter ID card at the polls before they vote. A voter without one of the listed forms of ID may have the voter’s identity attested to by another registered voter in the precinct or may prove identity and residence using Election Day Registration documents. Voters without the necessary ID or an attester 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).
Any registered voter who does not have a valid driver's license or non-operator's ID issued by the Iowa Department of Transportation will be issued a Voter ID Card for free, automatically, in the mail. This also applies to anyone who registers to vote in the future. Upon receipt of the Voter ID Card, it should be immediately signed. Obtaining the Voter ID Card does not require any further documentation or action by the voter; voters simply need to be registered to vote in the county where they live.
VOTING ON ELECTION DAY
For Special Elections, please confirm the polling place hours and location with the county auditor as the locations may have been consolidated or vote centers may be used.
For Primary and General Elections, the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. statewide.
For City/School Elections, the polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.
Voters may wear a campaign button or clothing when they go to vote but must leave the polling place as soon as they are done voting. Campaigning or electioneering of any kind in a polling place is illegal; loitering in a polling place while wearing political items is considered electioneering.
Employees of the county auditor's office, precinct election officials, poll watchers, and observers at satellite voting locations are not allowed to wear political items while at the polling place.
If you make a mistake while voting your ballot at the polling place, tell a precinct election official. The official will take the ballot on which you've made the mistake and have you "spoil" it so it cannot be counted. You will then be given another ballot to vote. Voters may receive up to three ballots.
A provisional ballot is used by voters whose qualifications to vote have been challenged, voters who can't prove they are qualified to vote, and voters who requested absentee ballots but did not surrender them at the polls.
If your name is not on the list of registered voters or if someone challenges your right to vote on Election Day, you have the right to cast a provisional ballot. You have the right to provide evidence showing why you are eligible to vote. You may provide evidence to the precinct election officials or to the county auditor's office by the deadline listed on the provisional ballot envelope.
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 or fill out the form on this link
Verifying absentee ballot status: Iowa Absentee Ballot Tracker
Voting with disabilities: https://sos.iowa.gov/disabilities.html