Iowa Votes: Everything you need to know to vote in 2020

Iowa Votes: Everything you need to know to vote in 2020

Updated: September 10, 2020 04:08 PM
Created: September 10, 2020 03:53 PM

To vote in Iowa, you must be 18 years old on Election Day and be a United States citizen and Iowa resident. Iowa is encouraging voters to use absentee voting either by mail or by voting at their county auditor. 
Upcoming key dates for 2020 General Election
September 18 - Early voting by absentee ballot begins
September 22 - National Voter Registration Day
October 4 - Recommended that voters apply for absentee ballots before this day to ensure enough time to receive and return their ballot. 
October 24 - Deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail
November 3 - Election Day. Vote in person at your polling place or make sure your absentee ballot is postmarked by this day.
Common Questions & Answers
How do I check that my voter registration is active and correct?
Visit the Secretary of State website; you will need your name and zip code. 
How do I apply for a mail-in absentee ballot? 
In Iowa, voters can request a mail-in absentee ballot through their County Auditor

A written application for a mailed absentee ballot must be received by the voter's County Auditor no later than 5 p.m., 10 days before Election Day. 
When will I get my mail-in absentee ballot? 
Domestic absentee ballots will begin mailing on October 5, 2020.
What do I do if I don't receive a requested absentee ballot?
Track your ballot using the tracking tool on the Secretary of State website
When should I mail my absentee ballot to be counted for this election? 
Absentee ballots must be postmarked by the Monday before Election Day or earlier and received in the County Auditor's office no later than noon on the Monday following the election. 
Do I need a witness for my absentee ballot? 
No, witnesses are not required in Iowa for absentee ballots. 
What happens if I have not received my mail-in absentee ballot by Election Day?
You can vote in person at your local polling place. 
If I'm concerned about mailing my absentee ballot, where can I drop it off in-person?
Yes, on Election Day, you may deliver your voted absentee ballot to the county auditor's office before the polls close. Do not return your absentee ballot to a polling place on Election Day. 
If I applied for an absentee ballot, can I still choose to vote in-person instead?
Yes, you must surrender your voted absentee ballot at the polls and vote a regular ballot or vote a provisional ballot if you cannot surrender your voted absentee ballot. 
Can I vote early in person? 
Voters can vote early with an absentee ballot at their County Auditors office. For the general election, absentee ballots will be available no earlier than 29 days before Election Day and are not available on Election Day at the auditor's office unless the polls open at noon, then it will be available 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. 
When can I vote early in person?
Early in person voting in the 2020 General Election begins on October 5 at the county auditor's office. 
If voting in-person, what identification or documents do I need?
On Election Day, bring one of the following as proof of identity. 

  • Iowa Voter Identification Card
  • Iowa Driver's License
  • Iowa Non-Operator ID
  • U.S. Military ID or Veteran ID
  • U.S. Passport
  • Tribal ID Card/Document

If I wait to vote on November 3, what precautions should I take?
If voting in person on Election Day, it is encouraged to wear a mask at your polling place. If voters do not have a mask, they will be available. Poll workers will be wearing a mask and an optional face shield. 

Each polling location will have plastic barriers between poll workers and voters and both floor markings and signs to encourage social distancing. 

Each polling location will have hand sanitizer available at each "station" of the voting process for voters to use. Additional poll workers will help direct traffic, ensure social distancing is being followed, and clean commonly touched surfaces and items.


Register to vote

Am I registered to vote?

Vote ID information

Track your absentee ballot

Find your polling place

Candidate information

Become a poll worker

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