Voting in Iowa
Voter Registration In Iowa
Who Can Register In Iowa
To register to vote in Iowa, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be a resident of Iowa
- Be at least 17 years old. A person may vote if they will be 18 years old on or before Election Day. In the case of primary elections, a person may vote if they will be 18 years old on or before the corresponding regular election.
- Not have been judged mentally incompetent to vote by a court
- Not be a convicted felon (unless your voting rights have been restored)
- Not claim the right to vote in any other place
The deadline for your registration to be received in order to vote is 10 days before general elections and 11 days before all other elections. Mailed forms should be post-marked 15 days before Election Day. You can also register on Election Day (see more under “Election Day Registration”).
Iowa Election Day Registration
If you’re eligible to vote in Iowa but have not yet registered, you can register and vote at your polling place on Election Day.
You can pre-register to vote in Iowa when you turn 17.
Voting Rights Restoration
Iowa does remove voting rights for people with felony convictions. Iowa’s Constitution currently states that anyone convicted of a felony permanently loses the right to vote or hold public office unless the Governor restores those rights. Governor Reynolds has proposed an amendment to the constitution to fix this issue permanently. But because the process to ratify an amendment will likely take several additional years, the Governor has signed Executive Order 7, restoring the right to vote to nearly all Iowans who have been convicted of a felony and have successfully completed their sentences. Executive Order 7 restores the rights of citizenship to any person convicted of a felony, except for a violation of chapter 707 of the Iowa Code (“Homicide and Related Crimes”), and who has discharged his or her sentence on or before August 5, 2020. Additionally, Executive Order 7 states that the Governor will continue to issue restorations of voting rights on a daily basis for those who complete their sentence in the future.
If you have a past conviction, learn more about your eligibility to vote here.
Voting In Iowa
Where To Vote In Iowa
Vote-by-mail & Absentee
All voters are eligible to vote absentee/by mail in Iowa; no excuse is needed.
Early Voting In Iowa
Iowa allows in-person, no excuse absentee voting starting no earlier than 20 days before primary and general elections, and as they are ready for all other elections, though not sooner than 20 days prior to the election.
Primary Elections In Iowa
Iowa has both caucuses and primaries. Caucuses are run by political parties and are used primarily to select delegates from the local to the national level who then represent voters’ preferences in terms of presidential candidates and party issues. Primaries are run by the state, where voters cast secret ballots in order to elect officials in all races excluding presidential.
Iowa has closed caucuses. Voters must be registered with a party in order to attend that party’s caucus.
Iowa has closed primaries. Voters registered with a particular party may only vote in that party's primary. Primaries are run by the state, where voters cast secret ballots in order to elect officials in all races excluding presidential. 17-year-olds can vote in the primary election if they will be 18 by the corresponding general election.
Voter ID In Iowa
Voter ID Requirements
Photo ID is required to vote in Iowa. Valid forms of ID include:
- Iowa driver’s license or non-operator ID
- U.S. passport
- U.S. military ID or veteran’s ID
- Tribal ID/document
- Iowa voter ID card
Voters without above ID may provide Election Day Registration documents, which include the following forms of photo ID:
- Iowa driver’s license or non-driver ID card
- Out-of-state driver's license or non-driver ID card
- U.S. passport
- U.S. military ID
- ID card issued by employer
- Student ID issued by Iowa high school or college
- Tribal ID
If your photo ID doesn't have your current address, you must also show one of the following:
- Residential lease
- Utility bill (including a cell phone bill)
- Bank statement
- Government check
- Other government document
Any registered voter who does not have a valid driver's license or non-operator's ID issued by the Iowa Department of Transportation will be issued a Voter ID Card for free, automatically, in the mail. This also applies to anyone who registers to vote in the future. Upon receipt of the Voter ID Card, it should be immediately signed.
If you go to your polling place without an approved form of ID, another registered voter in the precinct may attest to your identity. You can also register on Election Day without the required ID if another registered voter in the precinct attests to your identity. Voters without the necessary ID or an attester will be offered 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).
Additional Iowa Resources
Your State Election Official
Iowa Secretary of State
Paul D. Pate
Phone number: 515.281.0145