Iowa Election Information

Get all the election and voter information you need below.

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Upcoming Elections in Your State

2014 Primary Election: June 3, 2014

2014 General Elections: November 4, 2014

For more information, visit the Iowa Secretary of State website.

Other Important Election Information

On Election Day: 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.

You can also vote early by casting an absentee ballot in-person at a County Auditor’s office beginning on September 25, 2014.  November 3, 3014 is the last day for in-person absentee early voting at a County Auditor’s office.  Contact your County Auditor’s office for the dates and times when in-person absentee early voting is available.

How to Find Your Polling Place

Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

Visit the Iowa Secretary of State's Polling Place Search tool online.

Contact your County Auditor for in–person absentee early voting locations.

REGISTER TO VOTE HERE

Registration Deadlines

2014 Primary Election: May 26, 2014 Pre-Registration & Same Day Registration

2014 General Election: October 25, 2014 Pre-Registration & Same Day Registration 

You must pre-register at least 10 days before a general election.  If you are unable to pre-register at least 10 days before a general election, you may choose to register to vote in-person and cast a ballot on the same day during the in-person absentee early voting period or on Election Day.

How to Check if You Are Registered

Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

Visit the Iowa Secretary of State's Voter Registration Lookup webpage.

Contact your County Auditor.

How to Register

Online

You cannot register to vote online in Iowa.  However, you can download a voter registration form the Secretary of State’s website and mail or hand-deliver it to your County Auditor.

In-Person or by Mail

You can register to vote in-person at your County Auditor’s office, at a motor vehicle driver’s license station or at any voter registration agency.  You can also register to vote by mailing a completed voter registration form to your County Auditor.  You must sign the form.  If you are not physically able to sign the form, use a rubber stamp or a mark you use regularly.  You may ask someone to sign your name for you as long as the person is with you when signing the form and does so at your request.

If you are unable to pre-register to vote at least 10 days before a general election, you can register to vote and cast a ballot during the in-person absentee early voting period or on Election Day.  If you wish to register and vote on Election Day, you must go to the correct polling place for your current address.  To register and vote during the in-person absentee early voting period, you must go to your County Auditor’s office or a satellite voting site designated for this purpose in order to do so.  You must show a proof of identification and a proof of residence.  For more information, visit the Secretary of State’s Election Day Registration page.

Registration Eligibility

To register to vote in Iowa, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen;
  • Be an Iowa resident;
  • Be at least 17½ years old (you must be 18 years old by Election Day in order to vote);
  • Not be a convicted felon (unless your rights have been restored);
  • Not be judged mentally incompetent to vote by a court; and
  • Not claim the right to vote in any other place.

Identification Required for Registration

The registration form will ask you to provide one of the following:

  • A current and valid Iowa driver's license number;
  • A current and valid Iowa non-operator's identification card number; or
  • The last four digits of your social security number.

A voter registration application submitted without an Iowa driver's license number, an Iowa non-operator's identification card number, or the last four digits of your social security number, will not be processed.  If your application is not processed, you will be notified by your county election office.  If you do not have an Iowa driver's license number, an Iowa non-operator's identification number, or a social security number, notify the registrar and you will be assigned a unique identifying number that will serve to identify you for voter registration purposes.

In-person Absentee Early Voting and Election Day Registration

If you are unable to pre-register at least 10 days before a general election, you can register during the in-person absentee early voting period and cast an absentee ballot at the same time by appearing in person at your County Auditor’s office or at a satellite absentee voting station.  Contact your County Auditor for information about the dates, times and locations for in-person absentee early voting.

On Election Day, you may register to vote and vote a regular ballot by appearing in person at the polling place for the precinct in which you live.  You can find you polling place here.

To register during the in-person absentee early voting period or on Election Day, you must complete a voter registration application, make a written oath, and provide proof of identity and residence.  You must establish your identity and residence by providing one of the following forms of identification that contain your photo and an expiration date:

  • A current and valid Iowa driver's license or Iowa non-operator's identification card;
  • An out-of-state driver's license or non-operator's identification card;
  • A United States passport;
  • A United States military identification card;
  • An identification card issued by your employer; or
  • A student identification card issued by an Iowa high school or an Iowa postsecondary educational institution.

If your photo identification does not contain your current address in the precinct, you must also present one of the following documents that shows your current name and address:

  • Residential lease;
  • Utility bill (including a cell phone bill);
  • Bank statement;
  • Paycheck; or
  • Government check or other government document.

If you cannot prove who you are and where you live through the documents listed above, a registered voter who lives in your precinct may attest for you.  Both you and the registered voter from your precinct will be required to sign an oath acknowledging that the statements about your identity and residency in the precinct are true. 

If You Want to Vote Early

Early voting is available to all voters beginning 40 days before an election.

Early voting is completed by casting an absentee ballot in-person at your County Auditor’s office or at a satellite voting site.  You cannot take the ballot home.  The County Auditors' offices are open during normal business hours and on the two Saturdays directly preceding all primary and general elections.  Contact your County Auditor for more information.

On Election Day, you may not vote by absentee ballot at your County Auditor's office unless the polls do not open until noon for that election.  In that case, you may cast absentee ballots at your County Auditor's office from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Election Day.

Some County Auditors use satellite absentee voting stations to provide early voting at places other than the auditor's office.  You must mark the ballot at the station and leave it with the officials.  All satellite stations must be accessible to people with disabilities.  The County Auditor is not required to set up satellite stations.  You may request satellite absentee voting stations by filing petitions with the County Auditor.  To find out whether satellite stations are planned for any election, contact your County Auditor.

If You Want to Vote Absentee

You may vote by absentee ballot in any election if you:

  • Expect to be absent from the precinct in which you are a registered voter during the time the polls are open on Election Day;
  • Expect to be prevented from going to the polls and voting on Election Day due to illness or physical disability; or
  • Expect to be unable to go to the polls and vote on Election Day.

You can download the Absentee Ballot Application here.  You are not required to specify a reason for requesting a ballot.  You must request an absentee ballot for each election in which you would like to vote by absentee ballot.

Procedures for Voting by Absentee Ballot

To receive an absentee ballot by mail, you must submit a request to your County Auditor’s office by 5 p.m. on the Friday before the election.  You can download the Absentee Ballot Application here

If you return your absentee ballot by mail, the ballot must be clearly postmarked by the day before the election and received by the County Auditor no later than noon on the Monday following the election in order to be eligible for counting.

You may also hand-deliver your absentee ballot to your County Auditor by the close of polls on Election Day.

You may not return your absentee ballot to your polling place on Election Day.  If you have been issued an absentee ballot, but have not yet returned it to your County Auditor on Election Day, you can:

  • Deliver the ballot to your County Auditor's office before the polls close on Election Day;
  • Surrender the absentee ballot at the polling place for the precinct in which you are registered to vote. You will then be allowed to vote a regular ballot at the polling place;

If you cannot surrender the absentee ballot at your polling place, you will be allowed to vote a provisional ballot.

If you registered to vote by mail and have never voted in a Primary or General election in the county in which you are registered, you may be required to submit a photocopy of a current and valid photo identification card or one of the following documents containing your name and address:

  • Utility bill (including cell phone bills);
  • Bank statement;
  • Paycheck;
  • Government check; or
  • Other government document.

If you requested an absentee ballot and have not yet received your ballot,  you can check the status of your absentee ballot online.  If you still have questions, contact your County Auditor.

Be sure to carefully follow the instructions on your absentee ballot.  You may return the ballot personally or by mail.  You may also have another person return the ballot for you.  If you choose to designate a person to mail or deliver your ballot, that person must mail or deliver the ballot within 72 hours of retrieving it from you or before the polls close on Election Day, whichever is earlier.

You must sign the oath on the envelope used to return the absentee ballot.  If you need help marking your ballot due to physical disability or inability to read the ballot, you may choose any person to help you except your employer, your employer’s agent, or an officer/agent of your union.  If you are not physically able to sign the forms, you can use a rubber stamp or mark to sign.  You may also ask for assistance or have someone sign the form on your behalf as long as it is in your presence and with your permission.

Voting in Person on Election Day after Requesting an Absentee Ballot

If you requested an absentee ballot, you can surrender your absentee ballot at the polling place in the precinct in which you are registered to vote on Election Day.  You will be permitted to vote a regular ballot.

If are unable to surrender your absentee ballot at the polling place in the precinct in which you are registered to vote on Election Day, you can vote a provisional ballot.

Identification Requirements to Register to Vote

The registration form will ask you to provide one of the following:

  • A current and valid Iowa driver's license number;
  • A current and valid Iowa non-operator's identification card number; or
  • The last four digits of your social security number.

A voter registration application submitted without an Iowa driver's license number, an Iowa non-operator's identification card number, or the last four digits of your social security number, will not be processed.  If your application is not processed, you will be notified by your county election office.  If you do not have an Iowa driver's license number, an Iowa non-operator's identification number, or a social security number, notify the registrar and you will be assigned a unique identifying number that will serve to identify you for voter registration purposes.

Identification Required for In-Person Absentee Early Voting and Election Day Registration

To participate in early voting or Election Day registration, you are required to establish identity and residence by providing one of the following forms of identification that contains your photo and an expiration date:

  • A current and valid Iowa driver's license or Iowa non-operator's identification card;
  • An out-of-state driver's license or non-operator's identification card;
  • A United States passport;
  • A United States military identification card;
  • An identification card issued by your employer; or
  • A student identification card issued by an Iowa high school or an Iowa postsecondary educational institution.

If your photo identification does not contain your current address in the precinct, you must also present one of the following documents that shows your current name and address:

  • Residential lease;
  • Utility bill (including a cell phone bill);
  • Bank statement;
  • Paycheck; or
  • Government check or other government document.

If you cannot prove who you are and where you live through the documents listed above, a registered voter who lives in your precinct may attest for you.  Both you and the registered voter from your precinct will be required to sign an oath acknowledging that the statements about your identity and residency in the precinct are true.

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

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 right to vote has been challenged;
  • You are not listed on the election register as an active voter; or
  • The precinct election officials do not know you.

If asked to show identification, you may use a current and valid photo ID or any of the following documents if they show your name and current address:

  • Current utility bill (including cell phone bill);
  • Current bank statement;
  • Current paycheck or government check; or
  • Other current government document.

If you use the same-day registration procedures that allow you to register to vote and vote in person at the polls on Election Day, by absentee ballot at the County Auditor’s office or at a satellite voting station during the early voting period, you must establish identity and residency by providing one of the following forms of identification that contain your photo and an expiration date:

  • A current and valid Iowa driver's license or Iowa non-operator's identification card;
  • An out-of-state driver's license or non-operator's identification card;
  • A United States passport;
  • A United States military identification card;
  • An identification card issued by your employer; or
  • A student identification card issued by an Iowa high school or an Iowa postsecondary educational institution.

If your photo identification does not contain your current address in the precinct, you must also present one of the following documents with your current name and address:

  • Residential lease;
  • Utility bill (including a cell phone bill);
  • Bank statement;
  • Paycheck; or
  • Government check or other government document.

Moving Within the Same Precinct

If you have moved within the same precinct and have not updated your address for voter registration purposes, you should go to the appropriate polling place in that precinct for your new address.  If the voter registration list still lists your old address, you will be asked to update your registration information.  If the updated address is within the precinct, then you will be permitted to vote. 

Moving Within the Same County

If you have moved to a different precinct within the same county and have not updated your address for voter registration purposes, you should go to the new polling location that corresponds to your new address and update your registration by completing a new voter registration application using the new residence address at your new precinct.  You can locate your new polling place here. You may be asked to show identification that includes your name and current address.

Moving to a Different County

If you have moved to a new county and have not updated your address for voter registration purposes, go to the new polling place that corresponds to your new address and update your registration by completing a new voter registration application.  Use your new residence address on the voter registration address.  You can locate your new polling place here. You may be asked to show identification that includes your name and current address.

You can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), also known as Standard Form 76, to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot.  Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) Iowa-specific FPCA page.  You can send and receive voting materials by fax and email.  To receive you absentee ballot by email or fax, your request must be received by your County Auditor’s office by 5 p.m. on the Monday before the election.  Instructions are found on the FVAP's Iowa-specific FPCA page.

You may be entitled to vote using a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) if you requested a regular absentee ballot more than 14 days prior to Election Day from the County Auditor’s office but have not received it.  You must be located outside the U.S. or on active duty outside your Iowa county of residence to vote a FWAB.  You may use the FWAB to vote in State and local elections only during elections where Federal offices are also on the ballot.  The FWAB is a blank ballot on which you write-in your choices.  The FWAB may also be used to register to vote and to apply for the absentee ballot, all in one step.  Voter registration deadlines do not apply to Iowa military and overseas voters.  For specific instructions, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's Iowa-specific FWAB page.

For more information, visit the Iowa Secretary of State’s Military and Overseas Voters page

If you are convicted of a felony, your voter registration is cancelled in Iowa.  You may not register to vote or vote.  Your voting rights may be restored after completion of your sentence, any required probation, parole, or supervised release, and payment of all court costs, fees, and restitutions.  If your rights are restored by the Governor or the President of the United States, you may register to vote and vote.  Click here for more information on applying to have one's citizenship rights restored.

For more information, visit the Iowa Secretary of State website or click here to read the Iowa State Election Code.

FAQ

Electionary

Top Issues to Field

For more information for voters with mental disabilities, visit The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and National Disability Rights Network’s document: “Voting Rights Guide for People with Mental Disabilities.”

For more information for student voters, visit the Iowa Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights


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