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2020 Voter Guide: Everything you need to know about voting in Iowa

Text VOTE to 515-457-1026 for the latest details on what you need to vote this November.

IOWA, USA — Find more information on voting in Iowa by visiting Local 5's Voter Guide.

Get the latest election results on the Local 5 Elections page on Election Night.


  • September 22: National Voter Registration Day
  • October 5: In-person, absentee voting begins at your county auditor's office.
  • October 24: Last day to request an absentee ballot, last day to pre-register
  • November 2: Last day to send your absentee ballot in the mail. Absentee ballots must be received by Nov. 9. This is also the last day for in-person, absentee voting.
  • November 3: Election Day! Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. You can register in person on Election Day. 

RELATED: Voting in Iowa: Important dates you need to know


The Iowa Secretary of State's Office says you must be registered to vote in the state. To qualify to register, you must be: 

  • A U.S. citizen,
  • An Iowa resident, and
  • At least 17 years old (18 years old on or before Election Day)

You cannot be: 

  • A convicted felon, unless your voting rights have been restored
  • Judged mentally incompetent to vote by a court
  • Claim the right to vote in any other place

RELATED: Your election questions, answered: Who can vote in Iowa?


Iowans are able to register up until or even on Election Day if voting in-person. 

To register online, you'll need an Iowa driver's license or non-operator's ID. Then, click here and complete the online steps. 

You can also print out and fill out this voter registration form and send it to your county auditor's office

Can't remember if you're registered? You can check that on the Iowa Secretary of State's website by clicking/tapping here. 

RELATED: Here's how to register to vote in Iowa


A full list of candidates running for office can be found here.

For county-specific ballots, look to your county auditor's office.

This election isn't just about the presidential race— this year Iowans get to decide if they want a constitutional convention. Judges are also on the ballot for retention elections. 

RELATED: Your 2020 ballot, explained: Judicial retention elections and constitutional convention


All you need is your zip code to find out where you should vote. The Iowa Secretary of State's website has a page for you to find out where you should vote at in November. 

RELATED: What you need to know about county election offices


Iowa voters are required to show a form of identification in order to cast their ballot. That law went into effect in January 2019. 

Here are the acceptable forms of ID that will let Iowans vote this year: 

  • Iowa driver's license
  • Iowa non-operator ID
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. military or veteran ID
  • Iowa voter ID card
  • Tribal ID card/document

Registered voters only need one form of ID. 

RELATED: What do I need to vote in the 2020 General Election?


You can vote early and in-person by heading to your county auditor's office, according to the Secretary of State. You must vote in the auditor's office, and you cannot bring your ballot home with you. 

Early, in-person voting begins Monday, Oct. 5. and ends Monday, Nov. 2.


No specific reason is needed to vote by absentee ballot in Iowa. 

First, you need to fill out an absentee ballot request form and then return it to your county auditor's office. You must be registered before you can request an absentee ballot. 

The Secretary of State's Office says the request form needs to be received by the county auditor no later than 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24.

In order to receive an absentee ballot, a registered voter MUST provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Iowa residential address
  • Voter Verification Number (ID Number)
    • Iowa Driver's License or Non-Operator ID Number OR
    • Four digit Voter PIN located on the voter's Iowa Voter ID Card
    • Any voter may request an Iowa Voter ID Card by contacting their County Auditor's Office
  • The name OR date of the election for which you are requesting an absentee ballot
  • Party affiliation - only required for Primary Elections, which are held in even numbered years
  • Signature

If your request is sent on time and approved, your county auditor will mail your ballot to you. Your county auditor will include instructions to fill your ballot out and how you can return it. 


In Iowa, the first absentee ballots will be counted on Monday, Nov. 2: the day before the election. 

A 20-member board split between Republicans and Democrats will oversee those results in each county, and they'll be busy as many Iowans are expected to vote absentee.

Unofficial results are reported starting at 9 p.m. on election night, when polls close.

Votes are counted electronically and by hand, and all results will be verified through a post-election audit. In each county, the Secretary of State's office selects one precinct to audit results.

So while we will have election day on Nov. 3, it could become election week as so many people are expected to vote early. And we are likely to see a number of recounts ordered where the contests are close.

RELATED: Here is how and when votes are counted in Iowa

Have an election question you'd like answered? Email news@weareiowa.com or text us at 515-457-1026!