Voting FAQ

To vote in Iowa, you must be registered to vote.
To qualify to register to vote, you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen,
  • An Iowa resident, and
  • At least 17 1/2 years old (must be 18 years old by election day to vote.)

You cannot:

  • Be a convicted felon (unless your voting rights have been restored),
  • Be judged mentally incompetent to vote by a court, or
  • Claim the right to vote in any other place.

Voter registration information in Iowa:

Source: Iowa Secretary of State

What is a valid form of ID to show at the polls?

  • Iowa Driver’s License
  • Iowa Non-Operator’s ID
  • Military ID
  • U.S. Passport
  • Tribal ID
  • Veteran’s ID
  • Voter ID Card

Voters have to start showing ID at the polls?

During calendar year 2018 voters will be asked to show their ID before voting at the polls. Anyone who does not have the necessary ID will be asked to sign an oath verifying their identity, and will be allowed to cast a regular ballot.

Beginning January 1, 2019, Iowa voters will be required to show a driver’s license, non-driver’s ID, passport, military ID, veterans ID, tribal ID or Voter ID Card at the polls before they vote. Voters without the necessary ID 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).

What about voters who don’t have an ID?

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. Obtaining the Voter ID Card does not require any further documentation or action by the voter; voters simply need to be registered to vote in the county where they live.

How does this law affect voter registration?

This law does not affect Iowa’s voter registration process. There are still multiple ways to register to vote, including at the polls on Election Day, and online. Voters registering on Election Day still need to bring a picture ID and proof of residency in the precinct, like a utility bill. This has not been changed from previous elections.

What will be the impact on college students?

NONE. The Election Integrity Act does not create any obstacles for college students to vote. Students can register to vote using all the registration opportunities previously available, including online, or at the polls on Election Day. Prior Iowa law requires Election Day registrants to show proof of identification and proof of residency; which may include college ID cards IF the cards include a photo and expiration date. If college students do not have an Iowa ID, all they have to do is register to vote before Election Day and they will be provided a Voter ID Card for free, automatically.

What are provisional ballots and how do they work?

Provisional ballots provide a way for voters to cast their ballots on Election Day if there is a question about their eligibility to vote. Voters will be offered a provisional ballot if the voter had been sent an absentee ballot, if the voter does not provide ID when required, or if the voter is challenged by another registered voter. Provisional ballots are sealed in a secure envelope after the voter has marked the ballot. The ballot envelope is reviewed later by the absentee board. Provisional voters receive a notice on Election Day with information about the reason for the challenge and whether they need to provide additional documentation regarding their eligibility.

All voters registering and voting on Election Day in precincts without electronic pollbooks will cast provisional ballots. These ballots will be counted, unless the voter’s name appears on the felon database list.

Source: Iowa Secretary of State

Voting with Disabilities

Voting with Assistance in Iowa

Voting at the polls can present a unique set of challenges to people with disabilities. It is the intent of federal law to ensure that voters with disabilities are fully able to exercise their voting rights at the polls.

If you or a family member need special assistance to vote, you have the right to an accessible voting location, accessible voting equipment and to receive assistance in casting your ballot.

Find more information on voting with assistance here.