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How to vote in Iowa

Election day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Iowa allows any voter to request a ballot by mail. You can also vote in person. Iowa offers absentee voting.

Who can vote

To register in Iowa you must:

  • be a citizen of the United States
  • be a resident of Iowa
  • be at least 17 (you must be 18 to vote)
  • not have been convicted of a felony (or have had your rights restored)
  • not currently be judged by a court to be "incompetent to vote"
  • not claim the right to vote in more than one place
  • *find more information on voting rights restoration here

Vote in person

Vote on election day

Voters registered in Iowa can look up where to vote on Iowa's site.

Vote early

Iowa voters can also vote before Election Day through a process called absentee in-person voting. The period for absentee in-person voting runs from Monday, October 5, 2020 to Monday, November 2, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.

What to bring

  • Identification: Pre-registered voters are required to provide an approved form of ID before casting a regular ballot. Approved forms of ID for pre-registered voters include an Iowa driver’s license or non-operator ID, US passport, tribal ID card/document, US military or veteran ID, or an Iowa voter ID card.
  • If you are registering to vote after the pre-registration deadline or at the polls on election day, you must provide a current and valid photo ID. Approved forms of identification for election day registrants include the items listed above, excluding the Iowa Voter ID Card. Additional acceptable forms of identification are an out-of-state driver’s license or non-operator ID, employer-issued ID, or student ID issued by an Iowa high school or college.
  • Proof of residence: If your address has changed or you need to register after the pre-registration deadline or at the polls on election day, you will also be required to provide proof of residence. If your current address is on your current and valid ID, then it may also serve as proof of residence. Proof of residence documents must include the voter’s name and address and be current within 45 days of presentation. These documents, except an ID, may be in electronic format, such as on a cell phone or tablet. Additional approved proof of residence documents are a residential lease, utility bill (including a cell phone bill), bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document, or a property tax statement (current within 45 days of final payment date).
  • Voters without ID: A voter who is unable to provide an approved form of identification (or is unable to prove residence, if required) may 1) have their identity/residence attested to by another registered voter in the precinct, or 2) cast a provisional ballot and can provide ID up until 12:00 p.m. noon on Monday after election day.

Vote by mail

  1. Request your mail-in ballot with a mail ballot application.
  2. Fill out the application completely.
  3. Submit the request to your local election office. You should request your ballot as far in advance of the election as possible. The deadline to request a ballot by mail is 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 24, 2020.
  4. When your ballot arrives, read it carefully and follow the instructions to complete it and return it.

See what's on the ballot

Learn more about what will be on your ballot by visiting the Ballotpedia.

Get step-by-step help

TurboVote can help you start the absentee/mail-in ballot request process, send you election reminders, and more. If you’d like more help planning how to vote, we can walk you through the process!

Election Day registration

Iowa does offer registration on Election Day.

Military and overseas voters

Active-duty military, their families, and overseas citizens can register to vote and request their absentee ballot using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). To do so:

  1. Fill out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), or download a copy. Your election official may have questions, so please provide an email address or phone number where they can reach you.
  2. Send the application to your election official.
  3. It is never too early to submit an FPCA! Please do so as soon as possible. You can look up recommended mailing dates by country and region.
  4. Please fill out and send back your ballot as soon as you receive it. Following are recommended return dates to make sure your ballot arrives at your election office on time:35 days before election - On a ship at sea: September 28, 202030 days before election - Outside of the US: October 2, 202011 days before the election - Stateside: October 23, 2020
  5. States begin mailing absentee ballots at least 45 days before Election Day. If you haven't received your ballot by 30 days before Election Day, contact your local election office.

If after submitting your FPCA, your ballot does not arrive, contact your election official first. Then:

  • You can still vote using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Print, sign, and mail your FWAB to your local election office.
  • If you mail a FWAB and then receive your regular absentee ballot, you should complete and mail your absentee ballot also. Election officials will ensure that only one ballot is counted.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program – FVAP.gov offers additional information on military and overseas voting in Iowa. You can also call 1-800-438-VOTE or email vote@fvap.gov

Check your voter registration status

You can look up your voter registration record and verify that your information is correct using Iowa's voter registration lookup tool.

Dates and deadlines

  • Election day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
  • The deadline to register online is 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 24, 2020.
  • The deadline for registering by mail to vote is (received by) Saturday, October 24, 2020.
  • The deadline to register to vote in person is 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 24, 2020.
  • The deadline to request a ballot by mail is 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 24, 2020.
  • The early voting period runs from Monday, October 5, 2020 to Monday, November 2, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.
  • You can also register and vote on Election Day.
  • You can also register and vote an absentee ballot at the same time after Saturday, October 24 through Monday, November 2.

Election contact information for Iowa

Address:
Secretary of State
First Floor, Lucas Building, 321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319

Phone Number:
(515) 281-0145

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