Voter Registration Requirements

  • You need to be a United States citizen.
  • You need to be a resident of Iowa.
  • You need to be at least 17-and-a-half years old (and you may vote if you are at least 18).
  • You can't claim the right to vote in more than one place.
  • You can't have been convicted of a felony (unless your rights have been restored).
  • You can't be currently judged by a court as "incompetent to vote."
  • If you are a first-time voter, you are required to provide your Iowa Driver's License (or Non-Operator's Identification Number) or, if you do not have that, the last four digits of your social security number.

Don't forget -- your state may have additional ID requirements when you go to the polls.

If you have additional questions about voting in Iowa, please contact:

Secretary of State, Elections Office: (515)-281-0145;

Registration Deadline

  • Postmarked by: the 15th day before Election Day.
  • In person: 5 p.m., 10 days before Election Day.
  • Same Day / Election Day registration: Yes

Felony Information

Under Iowa law, if you have been convicted of what is known as an "infamous crime" (including felonies and possibly aggravated misdemeanors), you lose the right to vote, but you may regain this right by (1) completing your sentence (including any term of probation, parole, or supervised release) and (2) having your right to vote restored by the governor.

If you complete the terms of your sentence after July 4, 2005, the Department of Corrections will send your name to the governor, who will consider whether your right to vote should be restored. If your right to vote is restored, you will receive a restoration of citizenship certificate in the mail at your last known address, which you should present when you register to vote.

If you completed your sentence before July 4, 2005, your right to vote was restored automatically by former Governor Vilsack, through Executive Order 42. The executive order is proof that your right to vote was restored, and you may need to show it when you register. A copy of it is available here.

Whether your right to vote was restored before or after July 4, 2005, you must register or re-register to vote.

For more information, visit the Governor's Office's website on restoration of voting rights or call them at 515-281-5211.

Information for Students

  • You must be a resident of the state in which you register and vote. If you're a student from Iowa who attends school in another state, you may need to determine whether you're an Iowa resident or a resident of the state where you attend school. The important thing to keep in mind is that you may only cast your vote in one state.
  • Here's what Iowa says about residency: Under Iowa law, students may choose Iowa or their home state as their permanent residence, and may register and vote in either. Residency in Iowa is defined as the place that you declare to be your home, with the intent to remain there permanently or for a definite, or indefinite, or indeterminable length of time.
  • If you determine you're an Iowa resident, but will not be present in this state or will be away from your home district on Election Day, be sure to check the absentee ballot application requirements and deadlines. In addition, Iowa residents who attend school in-state, but in a different election district, may be eligible to register and vote in the election district where they live while attending school.
  • To determine whether you're a resident of a different state where you attend school, be sure to check that state's residency requirements.

Identification Information

Here is what Iowa says you need to bring:

First-time voters who registered by mail may need to show ID. Additionally, voters who have moved, whose registration is inactive, whose right to vote is challenged, or who are not known to precinct officials may need to show ID.

Acceptable forms of ID are:

  • A current and valid photo ID, or
  • A copy of a current document that shows the voter's name and address, such as a utility bill, bank statement, government check, or paycheck

Same Day Registration


Early Voting Information

In Iowa, you don't have to wait until Election Day to vote. You can skip Election Day lines and vote early at a time that's convenient for you.

Vote Early In Person

All voters in Iowa may vote in person before Election Day until prior to Election Day at your County Auditor's office or in some counties at a satellite location.
On Election Day, some counties in Iowa do not open their polling places until 12:00 p.m. If you live in one of those counties, you may vote in person at your County Auditor's office until 11:00 a.m. on Election Day.

Vote Early By Mail

You can also vote by mail before Election Day by submitting an absentee ballot.

Complete the Absentee Voter Application and return it to your County Auditor's office either by mail so that it is received by Oct. 29 at 5:00pm or in person by prior to Election Day.

Your completed ballot must be returned to your County Auditor's office either by mail or in person. If mailed, the ballot must be postmarked by prior to Election Day. If you return the ballot in person, you must do so before the polls close on Election Day.

Secretary of State