Guest Opinion | 2020 is hard – voting doesn’t have to be

With 2020 being such an abysmal year, the Hawk the Vote team explains how to vote easily.


Katie Goodale

The Hawk the Vote website is seen on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020.

This year has certainly been challenging, in more ways than we can count. Hawk the Vote – the University of Iowa’s nonpartisan student-led initiative to get students registered, educated and turned out to vote in local, state, and federal elections – is here to help ensure making your plan to vote is the least of your worries.

You can choose to vote early, by mail, or on Election Day. Early voting in person in most Iowa counties is still going on, and will continue through Nov. 2. Many different states start early voting at different times. Find your early-voting location on your county auditor or election commissioner’s website. Make sure to bring a valid ID, and if you’re not registered to vote, bring proof of residency, too. Check info on early voting where you are by googling your county name and “early voting locations.”

In most states, it is now too late to request an absentee ballot to vote by mail. If you already have one, you should return it as soon as possible. You can drop it off at a drop box location in your county OR drop it in the mail — in Iowa, postage is already paid! It must be postmarked no later than Nov. 2 in order to count. Don’t forget to sign and seal the envelope — and use black pen.

The last method is to vote on Election Day. To vote on Election Day make sure you find your specified voting location online. If you live on campus, your polling locations are pretty simple — the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center if you’re on the east side and Carver Hawkeye Arena if you’re on the west side. If you live off campus, you should google “find my polling location” to find where to go.

In the State of Iowa, you can register at the polls on Election Day. You should plan to bring both ID and proof of residence when you go vote, in case you need to update your registration when you get there. ID could be your driver’s license, military ID, passport, or tribal document. If you do not have one of these IDs, the student-services office can print you a temporary student voter ID – but your regular student ID does not count. Proof of residence is your lease, utility bill, other government mail, or housing agreement if you live on a college campus. If you live on campus, you can navigate to MyUI > Student Information > Documentation and Reports > Verifications > Voter Residency Verification for your proof of residence. Call your county auditor for more specific information, or visit the Iowa Secretary of State’s page. These laws may not apply in your home state, so plan ahead if you’re not voting in Iowa. Navigate to for more information, or email [email protected] with any and all questions. We are happy to help!

Your vote is your voice — make sure yours is counted.

—Hawk the Vote Executive Team

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