HOW-TO-VOTE GUIDE

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020

This is an extraordinary election year. It’s important to make a voting plan.

 

 

There are three ways to vote in Iowa. What is your plan?

Choice 1

I plan to vote by mail:

 

Note:  The Oct 24, 5pm deadline to submit your absentee ballot request form has passed. 

If you submitted your absentee ballot request form AND HAVE RECEIVED A BALLOT YOU MUST NOW be sure to mail your ballot or drop it off at your County Auditor’s office. Ballots should be received by 9pm November 3rd, 2020. Earlier is better!

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In Iowa, you must fill out an absentee ballot request form in order to receive a ballot by mail.


The deadline to submit your absentee ballot request form is October 24th.

HOW TO MAIL THE ABSENTEE BALLOT REQUEST FORM:

1. Download a blank form, print it out, and mail it to your county Auditor’s office, or deliver the form in person.

OR

2. Alternatively, look in your mail for a blank form that may have been mailed to you by the Secretary of State or your County Auditor. The deadline to submit your absentee ballot request form is October 24th.  Earlier is better.  If you happen to submit more than one form, it’s not a problem, you will receive one ballot.  This site will help you find the address of the Auditor’s office for your county.

Note:  If you live in Johnson, Linn, or Woodbury counties, the Trump campaign has sued and won an injunction that invalidates any pre-filled absentee ballot request forms that were sent to voters and returned by them.  Your Auditor’s office will contact you, but you don’t have to wait – fill out your information on a blank absentee ballot request form, and send it in.  You will only be mailed one ballot.

TRACK YOUR STATUS:  You can track the status of your absentee ballot request form, and your ballot, at this site.  There is a time lag before the information appears on this site.

BALLOT INFORMATION:
Ballots will be sent out starting October 5th. Once you receive your ballot follow the instructions carefully for voting, sealing your ballot, 
and signing the affidavit envelope. Be sure to mail your ballot or drop it off at your County Auditor’s office. Ballots should be received by 9pm November 3rd, 2020. Earlier is better!

Note:  Technically, you can mail your ballot as late as November 2nd , and it will count if received at the Auditor’s office by noon on November 9th.  If you still have a ballot on November 2nd, it would be safer to hand deliver the ballot to the Auditor’s office.  Most Auditor’s offices will have a drop box for ballots outside the building.  An alternative is to take your ballot with you and vote in person.

 

I PLAN TO VOTE BY MAIL, BUT I AM NOT REGISTERED TO VOTE


YOUR OPTIONS UNTIL OCT 24

 

YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE FORM AND SEND IT IN WITH YOUR ABSENTEE BALLOT REQUEST FORM:
If you have an Iowa Driver’s License, or an Iowa non-operator’s ID, you may download and print a voter registration form, and send it to your Auditor’s office together with your application for an absentee ballot.  This is a common practice. To find the correct address for your Auditor’s office, or for questions, use this finder.


IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A IOWA DRIVER’S LICENSE OR IOWA NON-OPERATOR’S ID:
You can download, print, and submit a voter registration form, and supply the last four digits of your Social Security Number.  Your identity can be verified with the last four digits of your SSN alone, but it takes time, and although the deadline to submit the form is October 24th, submitting sooner is better. For more information click here.

Once you submit your voter registration form to the Auditor’s office, they verify your identity, and mail you an Iowa Voter Identification Card.  That card has a four digit voter PIN on it.  The voter PIN can be used to fill out an absentee ballot request form.  Note that verifying your identity will take time, and there may be a delay receiving your Voter Identification Card by mail.  The deadline to submit a voter registration form is October 24th, but it is advisable to submit your form as soon as possible. 

 

THE OCTOBER 24th DEADLINE TO REGISTER TO VOTE HAS PASSED, WHAT DO I DO

No worries.  You will have to pick another option for voting, either voting in person on election day, or voting early, and plan to register to vote using same day registration rules. 

You will need to show ID, which can be any of the following if they are current and have an expiration date.

  • Iowa Driver’s License
  • 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

You will also need to prove that you live at your current address, unless your ID shows your current address.  Any of the following will work if they include your name, your current address, and a date that is within 45 days.

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

To find your County Auditor’s office for questions, to obtain forms, or to submit forms, use this finder.

 

I AM SERVING IN THE MILITARY AND LIVING OUTSIDE THE US - HOW DO I GET MY BALLOT?

If you are serving in the military and living outside the United States, you can request a ballot and register to vote at the same time, using a federal form. 

I AM LIVING OVERSEAS (either military or non-military) - HOW DO I GET MY BALLOT?

Other overseas voters and military service members can use this nonpartisan site for information on how to vote. 

Choice 2

I plan to vote early at my County Auditor’s office:

 

Beginning on October 5th, County Auditor’s offices will have voting available at the office, and many of them will organize satellite voting opportunities around the county.  Check the website of your Auditor’s office for a list of times and locations, or call the office.    

DATE, TIME & PLACE: Check the website of your Auditor’s office for a list of times and locations, or call the office.  Find your Auditor’s office here. 

WHAT I NEED TO BRING: A valid ID is required to vote early at your county auditor’s office. Check out the list of Iowa ID requirements for voting below.

VOTE SAFELY:  You might be able to find a time when the number of people voting is very low, and some counties will let you vote from your car.  Elections officials use masks and often face shields, and are taking other precautions.

IOWA ID REQUIREMENTS FOR VOTING

What is a valid form of ID?

  • Iowa Driver’s License
  • Iowa Non-Operator ID
  • U.S. Military ID or Veteran ID
  • U.S. Passport
  • Tribal ID Card/Document
  • Iowa Voter Identification Card – if you register in advance of the election without an Iowa ID, the Auditor’s office will mail you one of these.  The identification card can be used as your ID for voting if it has a barcode, a PIN number, and a signature line.  Sign your card.  
  • A registered voter who lives in that precinct who can vouch for your identity.

Proof of address.  If you have an ID from another state, or an ID with an old address on it, you will need a document proving your address, and that should be dated within the last 45 days.  These are the acceptable proofs of address:

  • Residential lease
  • Utility bill, including a cell phone bill
  • Bank statement
  • Paycheck
  • Government check
  • Other government document
  • Property tax statement
I PLAN TO VOTE EARLY, BUT I AM NOT REGISTERED TO VOTE


YOUR OPTIONS UNTIL OCT 24

YOU CAN REGISTER ONLINE:
If you have an Iowa Driver’s License, or an Iowa non-operator’s ID, you have the option of registering to vote online.  Fill out this online form and submit by 5pm on October 24th.

OR

YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE FORM AND SEND IT IN:
If you have an Iowa Driver’s License, or an Iowa non-operator’s ID, you may download and print a voter registration form, fill it out, and either mail the form in, or deliver it to your county Auditor’s office by October 24th.  Note that they must receive the form by the deadline.  You can also pick a form up at the Auditor’s office.


IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A IOWA DRIVER’S LICENSE OR IOWA NON-OPERATOR’S ID:

You can download, print, and submit a voter registration form, and supply the last four digits of your Social Security Number.  Your identity can be verified with the last four digits of your SSN alone, but it takes time, and although the deadline to submit the form is October 24th, submitting sooner is better.

To find your County Auditor’s office for questions, to obtain forms, or to submit forms, use this finder.

I HAVE MISSED THE OCT 24 DEADLINE, BUT STILL PLAN TO VOTE ON EARLY

No worries.  You can still vote early, but you will have to provide documents and register to vote under the rules for same day registration.  

You will need to show ID, which can be any of the following if they are current and have an expiration date.

  • Iowa Driver’s License
  • 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

You will ALSO need to prove that you live at your current address, unless your ID shows your current address.  Any of the following will work if they include your name, your current address, and a date that is within 45 days.

    Choice 3

    I plan to vote in person at my regular polling place on election day:

     

    DATE AND TIME:
    Tuesday, November 3rd from 7am to 9pm.

    PLACE:
    To figure out where to vote (your “polling place”), visit this site and type in your address. 

    Polling places can change, and changes will be listed by precinct, so note down which precinct you vote in.  If there is any question about your polling place, call your county Auditor’s office.  Phone numbers for the Auditor’s office for each county can be found here. 


    WHAT I NEED TO BRING:
    A valid ID is required to vote in person. Check out the list of Iowa ID requirements for voting below.

    IOWA ID REQUIREMENTS FOR VOTING

    What is a valid form of ID?

    • Iowa Driver’s License
    • Iowa Non-Operator ID
    • U.S. Military ID or Veteran ID
    • U.S. Passport
    • Tribal ID Card/Document
    • Iowa Voter Identification Card – if you register in advance of the election without an Iowa ID, the Auditor’s office will mail you one of these.  The identification card can be used as your ID for voting if it has a barcode, a PIN number, and a signature line.  Sign your card.  
    • A registered voter who lives in that precinct who can vouch for your identity.

    Proof of address.  If you have an ID from another state, or an ID with an old address on it, you will need a document proving your address, and that should be dated within the last 45 days.  These are the acceptable proofs of address:

    • Residential lease
    • Utility bill, including a cell phone bill
    • Bank statement
    • Paycheck
    • Government check
    • Other government document
    • Property tax statement

    If you don’t have the required proofs, you can still vote a provisional ballot.  The provisional ballot will be counted if you prove your identity at the Auditor’s office before noon on Monday, November 9th.

    I PLAN TO VOTE IN PERSON ON ELECTION DAY, BUT I AM NOT REGISTERED TO VOTE


    YOUR OPTIONS THRU OCT 24, 5pm

    YOU CAN REGISTER ONLINE:
    If you have an Iowa Driver’s License, or an Iowa non-operator’s ID, you have the option of registering to vote online.  Fill out this online form and submit by 5pm on October 24th.

    OR

    YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE FORM AND SEND IT IN:
    If you have an Iowa Driver’s License, or an Iowa non-operator’s ID, you may download and print a voter registration form, fill it out, and either mail the form in, or deliver it to your county Auditor’s office by October 24th.  Note that they must receive the form by the deadline.  You can also pick a form up at the Auditor’s office. 


    IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A IOWA DRIVER’S LICENSE OR IOWA NON-OPERATOR’S ID:

    You can download, print, and submit a voter registration form, and supply the last four digits of your Social Security Number.  Your identity can be verified with the last four digits of your SSN alone, but it takes time, and although the deadline to submit the form is October 24th, submitting sooner is better.

    To find your County Auditor’s office for questions, to obtain forms, or to submit forms, use this finder.

    I HAVE MISSED THE OCT 24 DEADLINE, BUT STILL PLAN TO VOTE ON ELECTION DAY

    No worries.  You can register to vote at your polling place on election day.  Many voters use this option, since people change addresses frequently.  On election day you register and vote at the correct polling place for your new (current) address.

    You will need to show ID, which can be any of the following if they are current and have an expiration date.

    • Iowa Driver’s License
    • 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

    You will ALSO need to prove that you live at your current address, unless your ID shows your current address.  Any of the following will work if they include your name, your current address, and a date that is within 45 days.

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

    I AM A FORMER FELON AND PLAN TO VOTE – WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?

    Former felons vote in Iowa now.

    If you were convicted of a felony (except for Homicide and some related offences), and have completed your sentence and any parole, you may register to vote and plan to vote in the November 3rd election.

    Please refer to all of the information above for voting and registration procedures.