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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Answering your questions about early voting in Iowa

Early voting in Iowa starts Oct. 5. Here's what you need to know.

IOWA, USA — The COVID-19 pandemic has changed just about everything about our society over the last several months, that includes the the 2020 Election.  

Early voting in Iowa starts Monday, Oct. 5. Here's what you need to know, according to Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate and state resources:

Q: Where can I vote early?

A: If you want to vote early in person, that can be done at your county auditor's office, usually located in your county's courthouse. You can register to vote when you get there if you're not already registered, but you'll want to bring a Proof of Identification and Proof of Residence.

You can also vote by mail using an absentee ballot. To request one, click/tap here, or you can find the absentee ballot request form embedded below.

Q: Why require voter ID?

A: "We're wanting to make sure only the person who's supposed to be voting is the one casting that ballot. And with that, that ID number, which is your private number, we feel that it takes away a lot of the potential for voter fraud, particularly via the mail, the absentee side of it. Because we're not seeing you when you vote absentee. I don't know who that person is, and we're not signature experts. So we lean on that pretty heavily."

—Secretary Pate

Q: How will I know when my ballot is received?

A: "You as a voter, when you request an absentee ballot, you can go online at the Secretary of State's site, and you can see exactly when the county auditor receives it, you'll see exactly when the county auditor mails it to you. And you'll see when they receive your ballot."

—Secretary Pate

Q: What should I wear when I go vote?

A: "Just be comfortable. Masks I think are appreciated, because we want to protect the poll worker as well as the voter. So we want you to be comfortable. We're obviously not mandating the mask on people. They have the right to vote, and that trumps the other efforts we're putting out there. We can't tell you what to wear when you're voting."

—Secretary Pate

Q: How can I avoid lines on Election Day?

A: "If [voters] want to make sure that they're not going to be in a situation where they have to wait at all, they can vote by mail through our absentee program, they can go early voting at the courthouse. Those are all options to avoid lines."

—Secretary Pate

To learn more about voting in Iowa and what you need to know on Election Day, click here or text VOTE to 515-457-1026.