En español | Iowa's Nov. 8 general election includes races for U.S. House and Senate, state House and Senate, governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and several other state offices. The state’s primary was June 7.
A new state law introduced in 2021 has changed some voting rules in Iowa. Among them:
Some of the changes are currently being challenged in the courts. Also, new redistricting has changed the boundaries of some state legislative and U.S. congressional districts and may affect where you vote, and which candidates appear on your ballot.
Iowans can also register to vote on Election Day at your county polling place. At the polling place, you must present an acceptable form of ID and proof of residence. If you don’t have sufficient documentation, another registered voter who lives in the same precinct may attest to your identity and residence.
You can check if you are registered to vote through the state's voter portal or your county auditor’s office.
Any registered voter can request a mail-in absentee ballot from their county auditor. You can get a request form:
You can submit your request for a mail-in absentee ballot no earlier than Tuesday, Aug. 30. Return your request form to your county auditor’s office no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 24. If you miss the deadline, you can complete an absentee ballot in person through Monday, Nov. 7, at your county auditor’s office or at a satellite location, if available (contact your county auditor to find out).
Once your absentee ballot request form is received, the county auditor will mail you your absentee ballot with instructions on how to mark and return it. You can return your completed absentee ballot to your county auditor’s office:
There are exceptions for those with blindness or other disability, who may ask a “delivery agent” to deliver their ballot. Delivery agents must be registered voters, provide ID to the county auditor, swear to follow the law, and return the ballot in person to the county auditor, not via mail or a drop box.
If you got an absentee ballot but instead want to vote at the polls on Election Day, you must “surrender,” or give back, your absentee ballot at the polls. If you are unable to surrender it, you will be offered a provisional ballot at the polls instead.
A provisional ballot is for voters who:
For example, if your name doesn’t appear on the list of registered voters at the polls, or if you don’t have the correct ID, you will be offered a provisional ballot.
But you must “cure” your provisional ballot in order for it to be counted. This means providing evidence of your voting eligibility by the time of the county canvass of votes, which is 12 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14. Before you leave the polls on Election Day, you should be given a written notice explaining these requirements.
Yes, via an absentee ballot. You can request and submit an absentee ballot in person at your county auditor’s office starting Wednesday, Oct. 19. In-person absentee voting ends the day before Election Day.
Note that for in-person absentee voting, you are required to fill out an absentee ballot request form and provide ID, just like you would on Election Day.
For absentee voting, disabled voters can ask any registered Iowa voter to help them deliver their ballot. Those who turn in another’s ballot must fill out a form to verify their identity and present that form when they turn in the ballot.
For voting on Election Day, Iowa law requires all polling places to be accessible to all voters. Each polling place has a special voting device with elements, such as a touch screen or audio component, that helps disabled voters complete their ballots. You can also have someone assist you, as long as they are not your employer, your employer’s agent or an officer/agent of your union. Precinct election officials (PEOs) will also be on site to assist. You will be asked to sign a form showing you asked for help. If you are not physically able to sign the forms, you can use a rubber stamp or mark to sign.
If you are unable to enter the building of your polling place because of a disability, you can also vote curbside. Precinct election officials will bring voting materials to you in your car. Note that when a voter requests assistance from precinct election officials, two — one from each political party — always assist if the election is the primary, general or any other partisan special election.
The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visit the state’s online Find You Precinct/Polling Place portal to find where you need to cast your vote.
Yes. Iowa voters are required to show an Iowa driver’s license or nonoperator ID, U.S. passport or another acceptable ID at the polls before they vote.
A voter without ID may have the voter’s identity attested to by another registered voter in the precinct. Both you and the attester will be required to sign an oath swearing the statements being made are true.
Voters without ID or an attester will be offered a provisional ballot.
Editor’s note: This guide was updated on July 15, 2022, with information on absentee voting.
This story is provided by AARP Iowa. Visit the AARP Iowa page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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