Early voting in Iowa begins Monday: here’s how you can vote

Early voting in Iowa begins Oct. 5. The Daily Iowan curated a guide to tell voters how to vote, where you can register, and what the important deadlines are.


Tate Hildyard

A pair of Johnson County citizens are seen anonymously voting in the The University of Iowa Visual Arts building on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Counties all across Iowa along with eight other states are participating in the 2020 primary elections.

Lauren White, Politics Reporter

Early voting begins Oct. 5 in Iowa, and the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing the boundaries of what a typical general election looks like.

With Iowa’s spike in COVID-19 cases, Johnson County auditor Travis Weipert encourages voters to cast mail-in ballots if they can to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Whether this is your first time voting in an election or you are returning to the polls, The Daily Iowan has curated a guide to help voters know the ins and outs of voting in the 2020 election.

All absentee ballots can be turned in to the auditor’s office starting Oct. 5, and auditors will begin mailing out ballots. To find out more about turning in your absentee ballot, see down below in the Voting absentee/ by mail in ballot section.

Registering to vote:

College students can register to vote in their hometowns or in the city where their university is located if they have an Iowa address while away from their hometown.

You can check to see if or where you are registered to vote on the UI Hawk the Vote website — vote.uiowa.edu.

In order to register to vote, you must provide a valid form of identification such as an Iowa Voter ID Card, Iowa driver’s license, a U.S. passport, or a US Military ID. Student ID cards do not count because the University of Iowa does not provide ID cards that include an expiration date.

Students can order a temporary student ID that includes an expiration date by contacting the University ID Card Program. Because of COVID-19 guidelines, students will need to call the office ahead of time to schedule an appointment to pick up the temporary ID card.

How to register to vote:

If you have an Iowa driver’s license:

You can register to vote online through the Iowa Department of Transportation

If you do not have an Iowa driver’s license:

You can still register to vote in Iowa by providing proof of an Iowa address. You can show utility bills or lease statements, which you can provide as a photo or screenshot on Election Day at the polls.

If you want to register before Election Day, you can download a voter registration form from the Iowa Secretary of State website, and either mail it in or drop it off to the auditor’s office at 913 S Dubuque St #101, Iowa City, IA 52240.

When can I register to vote?

Voters can register to vote ahead of Election Day up until Oct. 24. Otherwise, voters can register on Election Day. To do that, voters must provide valid ID and proof of Iowa residence. An out-of-state driver’s license does count as a valid ID.

Voting in person on Election Day:

  • On Election Day, if voting in person, you must bring a valid form of identification such as an Iowa driver’s license, U.S. passport, or a US Military ID card.
  • Voters can find their precinct location through their county auditor’s website.
  • Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. in every county.

Voting absentee/ by mail-in ballot:

You must first fill out a ballot-request form in order to receive the absentee ballot — requests can be made until Oct. 24.

Ballot-request forms can be found at the county auditor’s office, 913 South Dubuque Street, or one can be printed out from the Johnson County auditor’s website. Every Iowan who is registered to vote will be receiving a request form from the Iowa Secretary of State to the address they are currently registered at throughout the month of October.

If you sent in a ballot request form with pre-filled information prior to Sep. 9, you will need to resubmit a blank form allowed by the Iowa Secretary of State.

Once you submit your ballot-request form, the auditor’s office will begin mailing ballots on Oct. 5.

Nov. 2 or the Monday before the election, is the deadline for mailing back ballots. Ballots need to be postmarked by this date to be counted.

Nov. 9 or the Monday after the election, is the deadline for the county auditor’s office to receive ballots. Ballots that arrive after that date will not be counted.

You can also drop off your mail-in ballot at the Johnson County auditor’s office starting Oct. 5 — auditors encourage dropping off your ballot as soon as possible.

You can track your ballot through the Secretary of State’s website and see when it arrives at the office.

If you had intended to vote by mail but did not send the ballot in time, you can go to your in-person precinct location and surrender the ballot there and instead vote in person.

“It’s your right to vote and we really encourage that people vote early because it keeps people safe. If we can get as many people voting early or by mail it would be greatly appreciated,” Travis Weipert, Johnson County auditor said.

Satellite early voting locations:

Voters who wish to vote early can cast their vote in-person at these locations during their designated times and dates.

Clear Creek Amana West Campus Building

331 W Marengo Rd, Tiffin

Monday, October 12, 7 AM to 7 PM

Swisher Public Library

72 2nd St SE

Tuesday, October 13, 2 – 6 PM

Coralville Public Library

1401 5th St., Coralville

Wednesday, October 14, Thursday, October 15 and Friday, October 16, 10 AM – 3 PM

Saturday, October 17, 10 AM – 4 PM

Sunday, October 18, 10 AM  – 2 PM

Solon Public Library

320 W Main St

Wednesday, October 14, 2 – 6 PM

North Liberty Community Library

520 W Cherry St.

Saturday, October 17, 11 AM – 3 PM

Sunday, October 18, 1 – 4 PM

Iowa City Public Library

123 S. Linn St.

Monday, October 19 through Friday, October 23, 10 AM – 4 PM

Saturday, October 24, 10 AM – 5 PM

Monday, October 26 through Thursday, October 29, 11 AM – 6 PM

Friday, October 30, 10 AM – 6 PM

Saturday, October 31, 10 AM – 4 PM

Iowa Memorial Union

125 N. Madison St., Iowa City, Hubbard Lounge

Monday, October 19 through Friday, October 23, 9 AM – 3 PM