Iowa Voter ID Laws

Local Assistance

Let us know of any local organizations helping those who need assistance register and get to the polls.

Official State Information

Coming soon

Key Dates

General Election: November 6, 2012
Action Date
Check official state voter page to find key dates.
Check official state voter page to find key dates.

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Full Transcript


Hello I’m Daphne O’Neal and you are watching the update for the state of Iowa. This video will give you an overview of what you need to know to exercise your right to vote. We’ll cover the latest and pending changes, what forms of ID are acceptable, who is eligible to vote, registration procedures and deadlines, when you can vote and where you can get additional assistance.

Voter Registration


To register to vote, you must be:
* A U.S. citizen
* An Iowa resident AND
* At least 18 years old by election day

You cannot be:
* A convicted felon (unless your voting rights have been restored)
* Judged mentally incompetent to vote by a court OR
* Claim the right to vote in any other place

In Iowa, if you have been convicted of a felony, your voting rights can be restored after completing the terms of your sentence and paying all court costs, fees, and restitutions. The Governor’s Office is responsible for restoring voting rights, so call (515) 281-5211 for more information.


Voter Pre-Registration

To pre-register to vote, complete and sign a voter registration form and return it to your county auditor’s office. You are required by law to provide your current and valid Iowa driver’s license or Iowa non-operator ID number. If you do not have an Iowa driver’s license or non-operator ID number, provide the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number.

If you are a college student, you may choose to register to vote at your home address or at your college address. You cannot register to vote at both.

Voters can also pre-register in person at the:

* Iowa Secretary of State’s Office
* Driver’s license stations
* Public assistance agencies
* State offices serving people with disabilities
* Some city clerks’ offices and school board secretaries’ offices
* Public libraries and
* Political party offices

Your county auditor will send you a voter registration card within two weeks. When you pre-register, your name will appear on the election register at your polling place. This allows you to sign in quickly when you arrive on Election Day.

Pre-Registration Deadline

* 5 p.m. Saturday, October 27, 2012

If you are unable to pre-register, you may register to vote on Election Day at the polling place for the precinct where you currently live.

Verifying Your Voter Registration Status

To verify your registration, you may check the online Iowa voter registration finder, or contact your county auditor’s office at the links provided on this web page.

Any pre-registered voter may request and complete an absentee ballot for any election. In order for the ballot to be counted, the carrier envelope must be received in the commissioner’s office before the polls close on Election Day. Otherwise, the envelope should be clearly postmarked by an officially authorized postal service no later than the day before the election, and received by the commissioner no later than noon on the Monday following the election.

If you have not returned your absentee ballot on Election Day, you may:

* Deliver your voted absentee ballot to the county auditor’s office before the polls close on Election Day
* Surrender your voted absentee ballot and vote a regular ballot OR
* Vote a provisional ballot at the polls if you cannot surrender your voted absentee ballot.

Early Voting

Early voting and voting absentee in person follow the same method in Iowa. Any voter may register an absentee ballot and vote at a local auditor’s office. For primary and general elections, absentee ballots will be available no earlier than 40 days before the election at the county auditor’s office.

Voting Identification

You are encouraged to always bring identification with you when you vote. You may be asked to show identification if:

* You registered to vote by mail after January 1, 2003, and have never voted in a Primary or General election in your county
* You have moved from where you are registered to vote
* Your right to vote has been challenged OR
* The precinct election officials do not know you.

If asked to show identification, you may use a current and valid photo ID or any of the following documents if they show your name and current address:

* Current utility bill (including cell phone bill)
* Current bank statement
* Current paycheck or government check OR
* Other current government document.

When and Where to Vote

On November 6, 2012, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. statewide. Check the Iowa Secretary of State’s polling place finder, or contact your county auditor to find out where to vote at the links shown on this page.

Additional Assistance

There are several organizations to help you with any part of the voting process, from registration, getting the proper identification or transportation to the polling place.

Use the links in the sidebar for National organizations and for uniformed service members, their families and citizens living outside the U.S.

“Local Assistance” from independent organizations is available in the Blue section below, Official Government information and forms can be found in the green section below, and Key Dates for your state can be found in the Red section.


We hope we have answered the most common questions for MOST voters in MOST situations or pointed you in the right direction to get more information. Election laws are much more complicated than we can fully cover here. Please visit one of the official sites listed below in the Green section for more detailed information.

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Our democracy works best when everyone participates in the process so make sure you vote and encourage others to vote as well. If you found this site helpful please share it with others using any of the sharing methods provided below. Thank you.


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