How to register to vote in Iowa

Iowa offers online voter registration. You can register by mail to vote in Iowa by printing a voter registration form, filling it out, and mailing it to your local election office. You can also register to vote in person if you prefer.

Who can vote

To register in Iowa you must:

  • be a citizen of the United States
  • be a resident of Iowa
  • be at least 17 (you must be 18 to vote)
  • not have been convicted of a felony (or have had your rights restored)
  • not currently be judged by a court to be “incompetent to vote”
  • not claim the right to vote in more than one place
  • give up your right to vote in any other place
  • *find more information on voting rights restoration here

Online voter registration

  • Iowa offers online voter registration.
  • You should know: you need an Iowa ID to use Iowa’s online voter registration system. If you don’t have an Iowa-issued ID, you can still register by mail to vote.
  • You can register online to vote until Saturday, October 24, 2020.

By-mail voter registration

Use the Iowa voter registration form

You can also register to vote using the Iowa voter registration form. Be sure to read the instructions carefully and fill it out completely. Send the completed form to your local election official. To register by mail, the form must be received by Saturday, October 24, 2020.

Use the National Voter Registration Form

  1. Print and fill out the National Voter Registration Form.
  2. Box 6 – ID Number: Your ID number is your Iowa driver’s license number (or Iowa non-operator’s identification number) if you have one, if not then the last four digits of your Social Security number. The ID number you provide will be verified with the Iowa Department of Transportation or the Social Security Administration.
  3. Box 7 – Choice of Party: Iowa requires that you register with a party to participate in partisan primary elections. You should register with the party whose primary you would like to vote in. If you choose not to register with a party, Iowa allows you to declare a party affiliation at the polls on election day.
  4. Box 8 – Race or Ethnic Group: Leave blank. This information is not required.
  5. Review the “Who can vote?” section above and check that you’re eligible.
  6. Sign the form.
  7. Send the completed form to your local election official. To register by mail, the form must be received by Saturday, October 24, 2020.
  8. If you are registering to vote for the first time in your jurisdiction and are mailing this registration application, Federal law requires you to show proof of identification the first time you vote. Proof of identification includes: A current and valid photo identification or A current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document that shows your name and address. More information here.

Election Day registration

Iowa does offer registration on Election Day.

In-person voter registration

  • You can also register to vote in person. Contact your local election office for information on when and where to register to vote.The deadline to register to vote in person is 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 24, 2020.
  • You can also register to vote and cast a ballot in person on Election Day.
  • Learn more by visiting the Secretary of State for Iowa or contacting your local election official.

Get step-by-step help

TurboVote can help you start the absentee/mail-in ballot request process, send you election reminders, and more. If you’d like more help planning how to vote, we can walk you through the process!

Military and overseas voters

Active-duty military, their families, and overseas citizens can register to vote and request their absentee ballot using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). To do so:

  1. Fill out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), or download a copy. Your election official may have questions, so please provide an email address or phone number where they can reach you.
  2. Send the application to your election official.
  3. It is never too early to submit an FPCA! Please do so as soon as possible. You can look up recommended mailing dates by country and region.
  4. Please fill out and send back your ballot as soon as you receive it. Following are recommended return dates to make sure your ballot arrives at your election office on time:
    • 35 days before election – On a ship at sea: September 28, 2020
    • 30 days before election – Outside of the US: October 2, 2020
    • 11 days before the election – Stateside: October 23, 2020
  5. States begin mailing absentee ballots at least 45 days before Election Day. If you haven’t received your ballot by 30 days before Election Day, contact your local election office.

If after submitting your FPCA, your ballot does not arrive, contact your election official first. Then:

  • You can still vote using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Print, sign, and mail your FWAB to your local election office.
  • If you mail a FWAB and then receive your regular absentee ballot, you should complete and mail your absentee ballot also. Election officials will ensure that only one ballot is counted.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program – FVAP.gov offers additional information on military and overseas voting in Iowa. You can also call 1-800-438-VOTE or email vote@fvap.gov

Check your voter registration status

You can look up your voter registration record and verify that your information is correct using Iowa’s voter registration lookup tool.

Dates and deadlines

  • Election day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
  • The deadline to register online is 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 24, 2020.
  • The deadline for registering by mail to vote is (received by) Saturday, October 24, 2020.
  • The deadline to register to vote in person is 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 24, 2020.
  • The deadline to request a ballot by mail is 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 24, 2020.
  • The early voting period runs from Monday, October 5, 2020 to Monday, November 2, 2020, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live.
  • You can also register and vote on Election Day.
  • You can also register and vote an absentee ballot at the same time after Saturday, October 24 through Monday, November 2.

Election contact information for Iowa

Address:
Secretary of State
First Floor, Lucas Building, 321 E. 12th St.
Des Moines, IA 50319

Phone Number:
(515) 281-0145