Make a Plan to Vote!

Vote early, make your voice heard!

Voting is one of the most effective ways to have your voice heard. It’s important to first make sure you’re registered to vote in Iowa and then make a plan to vote early. This year, voting early and by mail early will ensure your vote counts. Voting by mail is a safe, secure, and reliable way to vote in November but can be confusing for first time voters to navigate. 

Vote early in-person or  follow the steps below to vote by mail.

Step 1.

Register to vote in Iowa.


You can register online or by mail

Step 2.

Request your ballot

Fully complete the Absentee Ballot Request From (ABR) and mail to your county auditor

Step 3.

Receive your ballot

Your ballot will be sent out no more than 29 days before the election. 

Step 4.

Vote & mail in your ballot 


Receive your ballot in the mail, vote, and mail back to your county auditor. 

Step 1 - Register to Vote

How to request a ballot:
• Register to vote online or by mail CLICK HERE  
note: you must have a valid Iowa ID to register to vote online, if you do not have an Iowa ID you can register by mail by filing out a voter registration form and mailing it to your county auditor.

College students may register at their college address, or their “permanent” home address, but not both. If registering with a college address, you may use a housing contract to meet the definition of “residential lease.” The contract must: 
• Be effective for the current semester or term (with a specific date)
• List the student’s name
• Provide the building name where the student lives and a room number, if applicable

For a student at an Iowa community college or public university, "other government documents" that can be used to prove residency in the precinct include:
• A printed page from an online student directory
• A printed page from an online college or university billing
• A copy of the residence hall contract

The above forms must be current and must list the student's name and local address.

*information from the Polk County Auditor

Step 2 - Request Your Ballot

If you’re already registered to vote in Iowa but attending college in a different county, you want to make sure you're voting in the same county you’re registered to vote in. Absentee Ballot Requests must be sent via mail (cannot be requested online) no later than October 24. It’s important that you request your absentee ballot early! 

How to request a ballot:
• Find the Absentee Ballot Form online CLICK HERE  

How to fill out an Absentee Ballot Request form:
• Have your Iowa Driver’s License handy.
• If you don’t have an Iowa Driver’s License, you will use your voter PIN. This is on the card sent by your County Election Office and IS NOT your SSN or any other number. It is a 4-digit PIN number used mainly by those without an Iowa Driver’s License. You can call your county auditor's office if you cannot find your PIN number.


Mail your request:
• If you have a prepaid ABR, just drop it in the mail!
• No prepaid ABR? You can slip your printed ABR in an envelope and mail it or drop it off at the election office.

Step 3 - Wait Until October to Receive Your Ballot

After you put your ABR in the mail, you can track its progress here:
https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/absenteeballotstatus/absentee/search.
If you don’t see your ballot, contact your County Elections Office. 

In the meantime, share with your friends how easy and safe it is to vote by mail.

Step 4 - Vote & Mail Your Ballot

For more information on filling your ballot out correctly, visit the Iowa Secretary of State https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/voterinformation/absfaq.html 

For more information, including resources on voting as a college student, member of the military, or as a citizen living overseas, visit https://www.polkcountyiowa.gov/county-auditor/election/faq/

Find your County Auditor's office here: https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/auditorslist.html


Important Dates to Remember

Monday, July 6th

First day to request an absentee ballot be mailed to your home.

Monday, October 5th

First day requested absentee ballots can be mailed to voters who have requested them. First day of in-person early voting in your County Election Office.

Saturday, October 24th

Absentee ballot requests MUST be received by your County Election Office by 5 p.m. if you want a ballot mailed to you.

Saturday, October 24th

Pre-registration Deadline for the General Election. If you miss the deadline, Iowa still has same-day voter registration! You will need to bring proof of identification and residency for same-day registration or bring a neighbor to attest for you.


Tuesday, November 3rd – General Election Day

Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Absentee ballots may be delivered to the county auditor until 9:00 p.m.

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