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Iowa allows any voter to request a ballot by mail. You can also vote in person. Iowa offers absentee voting.

What key changes should voters know about?

Key changes to voting requirements in Iowa:
  • In-person absentee voting for primary and general elections in Iowa now begins 20 days before Election Day.
Learn more by visiting the Iowa Secretary of State's website or contacting your local election office.


Who can register to vote?

To register in Iowa you must:
  • be a citizen of the United States
  • be a resident of Iowa
  • be at least 17 years old (you may register to vote if you are at least 17 years old. You may vote if you will be 18 years old on or before election day. You may vote in a primary election if you are at least 17 years old and you will be at least 18 years old by the corresponding regular election.)
  • not be a convicted felon (unless your voting rights have been restored)
  • not currently be judged by a court to be "incompetent to vote"
  • not claim the right to vote in more than one place

How do I vote in person?

Where can I vote on Election Day?

You can look up where to vote on Iowa's site.

Can I vote in-person absentee?

  • Yes, Iowa does offer in-person absentee voting. You can choose whether to vote on Election Day or during the absentee voting period, whichever is easier for you. This can be especially helpful if it would be difficult or not possible for you to vote on Election Day. In-person absentee voting locations may be less crowded, as well.

What do I need to bring?

You will need to show ID to vote in person.

Pre-registered voters are required to provide an approved form of ID before casting a regular ballot.

Approved forms of ID for pre-registered voters include:
  • Iowa driver’s license or non-operator ID
  • US passport
  • tribal ID card/document
  • US military or veteran ID
  • Iowa voter ID card

If you are registering to vote after the pre-registration deadline or at the polls on Election Day, you must provide a current and valid photo ID. Approved forms of identification for election day registrants include the items listed above, excluding the Iowa Voter ID Card. Additional acceptable forms of identification are:
  • out-of-state driver’s license or non-operator ID
  • employer-issued ID
  • student ID issued by an Iowa high school or college.

If your address has changed or you need to register after the pre-registration deadline or at the polls on Election Day, you will also be required to provide proof of residence. If your current address is on your current and valid ID, then it may also serve as proof of residence. Proof of residence documents must include the voter’s name and address and be current within 45 days of presentation. These documents, except an ID, may be in electronic format, such as on a cell phone or tablet. Additional approved proof of residence documents are:
  • residential lease
  • utility bill (including a cell phone bill)
  • bank statement
  • paycheck
  • government check or other government document
  • property tax statement (current within 45 days of final payment date)

Voters without ID: A voter who is unable to provide an approved form of identification (or is unable to prove residence, if required) may 1) have their identity/residence attested to by another registered voter in the precinct, or 2) cast a provisional ballot and can provide ID up until the time of the county canvass of votes (Monday after election day for Primary and General Elections).

How can I check the status of my ballot?

You can check the status of your ballot on Iowa’s site.

Can I vote early?

Yes, Iowa does offer early voting, which in Iowa is called in-person absentee voting.
  • You can choose whether to vote on Election Day or during the in-person absentee voting period, whichever is easier for you. This can be especially helpful if it would be difficult or not possible for you to vote on Election Day. Voting locations may be less crowded, as well.

      What do I need to bring?

      You will need to show ID to vote in person.

      Pre-registered voters are required to provide an approved form of ID before casting a regular ballot.

      Approved forms of ID for pre-registered voters include:
      • Iowa driver’s license or non-operator ID
      • US passport
      • tribal ID card/document
      • US military or veteran ID
      • Iowa voter ID card

      If you are registering to vote after the pre-registration deadline or at the polls on Election Day, you must provide a current and valid photo ID. Approved forms of identification for election day registrants include the items listed above, excluding the Iowa Voter ID Card. Additional acceptable forms of identification are:
      • out-of-state driver’s license or non-operator ID
      • employer-issued ID
      • student ID issued by an Iowa high school or college.

      If your address has changed or you need to register after the pre-registration deadline or at the polls on Election Day, you will also be required to provide proof of residence. If your current address is on your current and valid ID, then it may also serve as proof of residence. Proof of residence documents must include the voter’s name and address and be current within 45 days of presentation. These documents, except an ID, may be in electronic format, such as on a cell phone or tablet. Additional approved proof of residence documents are:
      • residential lease
      • utility bill (including a cell phone bill)
      • bank statement
      • paycheck
      • government check or other government document
      • property tax statement (current within 45 days of final payment date)

      Voters without ID: A voter who is unable to provide an approved form of identification (or is unable to prove residence, if required) may 1) have their identity/residence attested to by another registered voter in the precinct, or 2) cast a provisional ballot and can provide ID up until the time of the county canvass of votes (Monday after election day for Primary and General Elections).

      How do I vote by mail?

      In Iowa, any registered voter can request to get a ballot by mail. Fill out the mail ballot application and mail or return it in person to your local election office.

      What should I do if I don’t get my ballot?

      If you don’t receive your ballot in the mail, then contact your local election office.

      How do I return my ballot?

      What do I need to do if I’ve moved?

      What’s on your ballot depends on where you live, so your voter registration is tied to your exact address. If you’ve moved, you need to re-register with your new address.

      How can I check the status of my ballot?

      You can check the status of your ballot on Iowa’s site.

      Can I register to vote on Election Day?

      Iowa does offer in person registration on Election Day.

      How do I see what's on my ballot?

      Learn more about what will be on your ballot by visiting Ballotpedia.

      How do I get help registering to vote?

      TurboVote can help you start the absentee/mail-in ballot request process, send you election reminders, and more. If you’d like more help planning how to vote, we can walk you through the process!

      How do I vote if I'm in the military or live overseas?

      Active-duty military, their families, and overseas citizens can register to vote and request their absentee ballot using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). The FPCA process is done by mail, but your state may offer other options to request and return ballots. Please contact your local election office for more information about delivery and return methods, including email, fax, and state online portals. To follow the FPCA process:
      1. Fill out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), or download a copy. Your local election office may have questions, so please provide an email address or phone number where they can reach you.
      2. Send the application to your local election office.
      3. It is never too early to submit an FPCA! Please do so as soon as possible.
      4. Please fill out and send back your ballot as soon as you receive it.
      5. States begin mailing absentee ballots at least 45 days before Election Day. If you haven't received your ballot by 30 days before Election Day, contact your local election office.
      If after submitting your FPCA, your ballot does not arrive, contact your local election office first. Then:
      • You can still vote using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Print, sign, and mail your FWAB to your local election office.
      • If you mail a FWAB and then receive your regular absentee ballot, you should complete and mail your absentee ballot also. Election officials will ensure that only one ballot is counted.
      The Federal Voting Assistance Program offers additional information on military and overseas voting in Iowa. You can also call 1-800-438-VOTE (8683) or email vote@fvap.gov

      How can I check my voter registration status?

      You can look up your voter registration record and verify that your information is correct using Iowa's voter registration lookup tool.


      Which election office should I contact?

      • In Iowa, your local election office runs the elections in your area. They can help you with questions about registering to vote, voting by mail, and local elections.
      • The Secretary of State oversees elections and election administration in Iowa. They can help you with questions about voting in your state, election security, or issues you might have at the polls. If you have concerns about voter intimidation, reach out immediately.

      How do I contact my local election office?

      Visit your state’s site to find your local election office.

      Can I trust this information?

      These guides are researched, written, and updated by Democracy Works, a non-partisan 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization, to inform voters via partners including Google and TurboVote. The information in these guides originates from official state sources and is reviewed by state election offices. The guides also link to authoritative state and local resources to provide additional information.

      How do I report an issue with the information provided on this page?

      Email htv@democracy.works with questions, concerns or feedback about the voting information on this page.