Voting is one of the most effective ways to have your voice heard and the 2020 election is shaping up to be one of the most important elections in recent history. 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.
Register to vote in Iowa.
You can register online or by mail.
Request your ballot beginning July 6, 2020
Fully complete the Absentee Ballot Request From (ABR) and mail to your county auditor.
Receive your ballot beginning October 5, 2020
Your ballot will be sent out no more than 29 days before the election, beginning October 5.
Vote & mail in your ballot
Receive your ballot in the mail, vote, and mail back to your county auditor.
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
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:
• The deadline to request a ballot by mail is Saturday, October 24. Your request must physically be in the office by 5 p.m. Postmarks only count if postmarked October 19, 2020, or earlier.
• 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.
After you put your ABR in the mail, you can track its progress here:
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.
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
First day to request an absentee ballot be mailed to your home.
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.
Absentee ballot requests MUST be received by your County Election Office by 5 p.m. if you want a ballot mailed to you.
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.
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.