Topics

General Information

Q.

Can an independent vote in a primary election?

A.

Yes and No. In Iowa you must be a member of a political party (in 2020: Republican and Democrat) to vote in a primary election. However, anyone can change parties on Election Day and vote. For independents to vote they must declare a political party.

Q.

Can anyone get access to voter registration lists?

A.

Under Iowa law we are required to sell voter lists for political purposes. 

Q.

Can I get a new ballot if I make a mistake or lose my ballot?

A.

Yes. If you make a mistake on an absentee ballot mark your return envelope “Spoiled” and return it to the Auditor’s office either by mail or in person. If you return it by mail contact the Auditor’s office to be sent a new one.

On Election Day if you make a mistake on your ballot, return it to the poll worker to receive a new one. You are allowed up to three ballots so don’t make too many mistakes!

Q.

Can I take a picture of/with my ballot?

A.

Polling place selfies are allowed so long as it doesn't interfere with others voting.

Q.

Can I vote for someone that is not on the ballot?

A.

Yes. For each race on the ballot a line is provided for you to write-in the name of someone for whom you wish to vote for.

Q.

Do I have to vote for everything on the ballot?

A.

No. You can vote for as much or as little as you would like; it’s all up to you!

Q.

If I change my mind on who I want to vote for after I have returned my ballot, can I get a new one?

A.

No. If you have already retuned your absentee ballot to the Auditor’s office you may not request a new ballot if you have changed your mind on who you wish to vote for.

Q.

If I chose a party do I have to vote for all of their candidates?

A.

Depends on the election. In primary elections you can only vote for candidates from the party to which you belong. In general elections you are free to vote for anyone you like, regardless of their party affiliation.

Q.

What if I don't have an ID?

A.

Registered voters who do not have an Iowa driver’s license or non-operator’s ID were issued a voter ID card. Voter ID cards must be signed before going to the polls. The new voter ID card will contain a PIN number that will be used for voting purposes. If you should have a voter ID card and do not, please contact our office to have one sent to you.

Q.

What is Voter ID?

A.

Starting in 2019, voters must provide an ID when going to vote. Voters who do not have ID will be allowed to either cast a provisional ballot or have another registered voter attest to their identification. There are 6 approved types of identification that may be used:

  • an Iowa Driver’s License or Non-Operator ID
  • a Voter ID issued by the Secretary of State or the Auditor’s Office
  • a current US Passport
  • a US Military ID
  • a US Veteran’s ID
  • a Tribal ID
Q.

Where do I vote at?

A.

Where you vote is determined by where you live and you must vote in the precinct to which you are assigned for your ballot to be counted. To find your polling place please visit the Polling Places page on our website.

Registration

Q.

Can a homeless person register to vote?

A.

Yes. Any eligible voter in Iowa may register to vote. Because many of those who are homeless have a nontraditional address they just need to provide an address or description of where they sleep the most, wherever that may be.

Q.

Can I update my voter registration over the phone?

A.

No. All updates to voter registration must be made in writing or online through the Iowa DOT if you have an Iowa driver’s license.

Q.

Can someone with a previous felony conviction vote?

A.

Those with a prior felony conviction are only permitted to vote if their voting rights have been restored by the Governor. For more information about restoration of rights, contact the Governor’s office or visit the voter registration page on our website.

Q.

Do I have to register to vote for every election?

A.

No. You would only need to re-register if your information has changed and you need to update it.

Q.

How do I update my address?

A.

If you have moved recently and need to update your address for voting, all you have to do is fill out a new voter registration form and submit it to the Auditor’s office.

Q.

I just registered and received a card in the mail but there is a mistake on it; what do I do now?

A.

If you notice a mistake on your voter card please contact the Auditor’s Office and/or submit a new registration form to correct your information.

Q.

I registered as an independent; why does my card say "NP" or "No Party"?

A.

Iowa does not recognize an “independent” party. Instead, “No Party” is used to indicate a lack of affiliation with a political party.

Absentee

Q.

Can I pick up or request a ballot for someone else?

A.

No. In Iowa you can only request an absentee ballot for yourself.

Q.

Can I request an absentee ballot by email or fax?

A.

Yes. You may request an absentee ballot via email or fax and a ballot will be mailed to you. However, in order for your ballot to be counted you must also mail in or drop off the original paper ballot request.

Q.

Can I use power of attorney to request a ballot for my spouse, child or parent?

A.

No. Under Iowa law, power of attorney does not apply for all election related matters.

Q.

Can someone else return my absentee ballot for me?

A.

Yes. You may permit anyone to return your absentee ballot for you. You may also request a receipt from the person returning your ballot.

Q.

Do absentee ballots even get counted?

A.

Yes. There is a myth that absentee ballots only get counted if the election is close, however this is not true. Under Iowa law every ballot must be counted; in fact, absentee ballots are the first vote results reported on election night.

Q.

Do I need to sign the return envelope of my absentee ballot?

A.

Yes! Your absentee ballot cannot be counted unless you have signed the affidavit envelope that you return your ballot in. If we receive a ballot back that has not been signed we will attempt to contact to you to get this fixed.

Q.

What is the last day I can turn in my absentee ballot?

A.

You are allowed to hand deliver your ballot to the Auditor’s office up until the time the polls close on Election Day. If you return your ballot through the mail your ballot must be postmarked by the day before the election.

Election Day

Q.

Can I get help marking my ballot?

A.

Yes. If you need assistance filling out your ballot ask a poll worker for help. A team of one republican and one democrat will come over and help you mark your ballot. Also available in each polling location is a ballot marking device that will read you all of the choices and then print out your marked ballot.

Q.

Can I register to vote on Election Day?

A.

Yes. Iowa law allows for Election Day registration if you are able to provide proof of identification (i.e. valid photo ID) and proof of residency (i.e. utility bill with your name on it if your ID has an outdated address on it). If you are unable to provide one or both of these you are allowed to bring someone with you to attest that you have the right to vote.

Q.

Can I take my absentee ballot to the polls on Election Day and vote there?

A.

Yes. If you have not returned your absentee ballot you may go to your polling place on Election Day and vote a regular ballot.

Q.

Do I need to show ID to vote?

A.

Beginning January 1, 2019, Iowa voters will be required to show a driver’s license, non-driver’s ID, passport, military ID, veterans ID, Tibal ID or Voter ID Card at the polls before they vote. Voters, starting in 2019, without an ID may cast a provisional ballot or have another registered voter attest to their identity.

Q.

I am already registered but my information needs updated; can I do that on Election Day?

A.

Yes. While it is recommended that you update your information prior to Election Day to speed things up at the polls, you may wait and do so on Election Day. If you are updating your address just make sure you are going to the polling place for your new address. When updating your address you will now need to provide proof of identity and proof of residency.

Q.

I can't get out of my car; can someone bring me a ballot to vote from there?

A.

Yes. If you are unable to go inside the polling place a team of election workers will be sent out to your car to help you vote.

Q.

I lost my absentee ballot; can I just go vote on Election Day?

A.

Yes. When you go to vote, a poll worker will verify with the auditor’s office that your absentee ballot has not been returned. If it is confirmed that the auditor’s office has not received a ballot from you then you will be given a new ballot to vote there.

Q.

What do I need to bring with me to vote?

A.

Starting in January of 2019 you will be required to show identification. If you need to register to vote on Election Day, you must bring proof of identification and proof of residency.

Q.

What if I lost my ID or forgot to take one with me to the polls?

A.

Starting in 2019, if you do not have you ID with you, you may either cast  a provisional ballot or have another registered voter attest to their identity.

Q.

What if I'm still waiting in line when the polls close?

A.

So long as you are in line to vote at the time the polls close you will be allowed to vote. 

Q.

What is a provisional ballot?

A.

If a voter’s eligibility is in question on Election Day they are allowed to cast a provisional ballot. After the voter marks their ballot and returns it to the poll worker, the voter is required to provide the necessary identification or documentation to the Auditor’s office. If it is determined that you do have the right to vote in the precinct in which you voted your ballot will then be counted and included in the final vote total.

Voter ID

Q.

What is a valid form of ID to show at the polls?

A.
  • Iowa Driver's License
  • Iowa Non-Operator's ID
  • Military ID
  • U.S. Passport
  • Tribal ID
  • Veteran's ID
  • Voter ID Card
Q.

When do voters have to start showing ID at the polls?

A.

Beginning January 1, 2019, Iowa voters will be required to show a driver's license, non-driver's ID, passport, military ID, veterans ID, tribal 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 IS up until the time of the county canvass of votes (Monday after election day for Primary and General Elections).

Q.

What about voters who don't have an ID?

A.

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's 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

Q.

Do I have to prove my residence?

A.

A voter who moves to a different precinct in the same county where the voter is registered will be required to prove identity and residence. If the voter's acceptable ID card/document also shows the voter's new address, no further proof is needed. If it does not include the voter's new address, the voter may provide a separate proof of residence, including:

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

Each of the separate proofs of residence must include the voter's name and current address and be current within 45 days. A separate proof of residence may be in an electronic format - such as a document on a cell phone - or on paper.

Any person who is not registered in the county where the person lives is required to prove identity and residence, following Election Day registration standards.

Q.

How does this law impact Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA)?

A.

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) is a federal law that makes it easier for members of the armed forces and certain overseas U.S. citizens to register to vote and cast absentee ballots.

UOCAVA voters are exempt from the requirement to include a voter verification number on an absentee ballot application.

UOCAVA voters can find copies of the federal postcard application (FPCA), federal write-in absentee ballot (FWAB), and information for voter registration and absentee voting specific to Iowa by visiting our Absentee Voting page or on FVAP's website, www.fvap.gov.

Q.

How does this law affect voter registration?

A.

This law does not affect Iowa's voter registration process. There are still multiple ways to register to vote, including at the polls on Election Day, and online. Voters registering on Election Day still need to bring a picture ID and proof of residency in the precinct, like a utility bill. This has not been changed from previous elections.

Q.

What will be the impact on college students?

A.

NONE. The Election Integrity Act does not create any obstacles for college students to vote. Students can register to vote using all the registration opportunities previously available, including online, or at the polls on Election Day. Prior Iowa law requires Election Day registrants to show proof of identification and proof of residency; which may include college ID cards IF the cards include a photo and expiration date. 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.

Q.

How do the Electronic Poll Books work?

A.

The goal is to install electronic poll books in every precinct in the state. These will make the voter check-in process quicker and more efficient, reduce the potential for human error, and streamline the system statewide. 77 of Iowa's 99 counties use electronic pollbooks.

Q.

Who is adversely impacted by this law?

A.

NO ONE. Every Iowa voter will be treated exactly the same. Every registered voter who does not possess an ID will be provided one for free, automatically.

Q.

What are provisional ballots and how do they work?

A.

Provisional ballots provide a way for voters to cast their ballots on Election Day if there is a question about their eligibility to vote. Voters will be offered a provisional ballot if the voter had been sent an absentee ballot, if the voter does not provide ID when required, or if the voter is challenged by another registered voter. Provisional ballots are sealed in a secure envelope after the voter has marked the ballot. The ballot envelope is reviewed later by the absentee board. Provisional voters receive a notice on Election Day with information about the reason for the challenge and whether they need to provide additional documentation regarding their eligibility.

All voters registering and voting on Election Day in precincts without electronic pollbooks will cast provisional ballots. These ballots will be counted, unless the voter's name appears on the felon database list.

powered by Neapolitan Labs