This Frequently Asked Questions page is based on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website.
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
When do 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.
Do I have to prove my residence?
A voter who moves to a different precinct in the same county where the voter is registered will be required to prove identity and residence. If the voter’s acceptable ID card/document also shows the voter’s new address, no further proof is needed. If it does not include the voter’s new address, the voter may provide a separate proof of residence, including:
- Residential lease
- Utility bill, including a cell phone bill
- Bank statement
- Government check
- Other government document
- Property tax statement
Each of the separate proofs of residence must include the voter’s name and current address and be current within 45 days. A separate proof of residence may be in an electronic format – such as a document on a cell phone – or on paper.
Any person who is not registered in the county where the person lives is required to prove identity and residence, following Election Day registration standards.
How does this law impact Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act?
The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act
UOCAVA voters are exempt from the requirement to include a voter verification number on an absentee ballot application.
UOCAVA voters can find copies of the Federal Post Card Application , Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot ), and information for voter registration and absentee voting specific to Iowa by visiting the Iowa Secretary of State’s Absentee Voting page or on FVAP’s website, www.fvap.gov.
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.
How do the Electronic Poll Books work?
The goal is to install electronic poll books in every precinct in the state. These will make the voter check-in process quicker and more efficient, reduce the potential for human error, and streamline the system statewide. 77 of Iowa’s 99 counties use electronic poll books.
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 poll books will cast provisional ballots. These ballots will be counted, unless the voter’s name appears on the felon database list.
How can I register on election day?
You can register to vote on Election Day. You must prove both who you are and where you live. Make sure to bring current identification that contains a photo of you and an expiration date.
- Proof of ID:
- Driver’s license
- US Passport
- US Military ID
- ID Card issued by employer
- Student ID issued by Iowa High School or College
- Tribal ID
- Proof of Residence (if your driver’s license doesn’t list your current address):
- Residential Lease
- Utility Bill
- Bank Statement
- Government Check
- Other Government Document
Voting with Assistance in Iowa
Voting at the polls can present 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 assistance to vote, you have the right to an accessible voting location, accessible voting equipment and to receive assistance in casting your ballot. Below, you will find more information on ways you or a family member that needs assistance can vote.
I can’t leave my home, can I still vote?
Yes! You may request an absentee ballot by printing a request form from our website: sos.iowa.gov
I need help filling out my ballot, can someone help me?
- You may request assistance for marking or casting a ballot. Any voter may declare upon oath that the voter is blind, cannot read the English language, or is, by reason of any physical disability, unable to cast a vote without assistance.
- Voters may choose any person to assist them, except their employer, employer’s agent or an office/agent of their union. Voters may also request assistance from a precinct election official. Two precinct officials, one from each political party, may assist. If a person other than the precinct official assists the voter, the person assisting the voter must sign the Affidavit of Voter Requesting Assistance.
- Each polling place has a voter assist terminal. This device is available for any voter. To mark their ballots, voters use features on the machine such as a touch screen, an audio component and/or a sip and puff element to select their candidate. The device will then mark their ballot according to their selections.
I am unable to leave my car, can someone bring a ballot to my car?
Yes! If you are unable to enter the building where the polling place is located because of disability, two precinct election officials, one from each party, will take a ballot and election supplies outside to the voter. The voter may then mark the ballot in the voter’s vehicle. The voter must sign the Affidavit of Voter Requesting Assistance. It is not required, but would be helpful to contact the county auditor’s office, to let them know that you will be voting curbside.
I have a conservator or guardian. Can I still vote?
Yes! You can still vote, unless a judge has specifically said in a court ruling that you may not vote.
How does an accessible voting machine work?
Each polling place will have an accessible voting machine. There are 4 different machines approved in Iowa. County Auditors chose which machine they want to use. To find out which machine your county uses, find the accessible system machine listed on the Iowa Secretary of State’s voting machine PDF then view the voting machine instructions found at the bottom of the Iowa Secretary of State’s Voting with Disabilities page.