2020 Iowa Voter Guide

Ballot Info

This year’s General Election will take place on Tuesday, November 3. As always in Iowa, there are three ways you may vote:

  • Vote in-person on Election Day
  • Vote in-person prior to Election Day at early voting sites
  • Vote via absentee ballot (“vote by mail”) after requesting an absentee ballot

Below are some forms, links, and information you need to vote this year.  You will also find links to downloadable forms for you to print and fill out.

Sample Ballots for the 2020 General Election: find your precinct here

Downloadable Forms

The following forms are are printable for your convenience. Don’t have a printer? Come to the library and we’re happy to print out a copy for you!

If you are voting in-person, you will be required to show photo ID. The following are acceptable forms of identification:

  • Iowa voter ID card
  • Iowa driver’s license or Non-Operator DC
  • U.S. military ID or Veteran ID
  • U.S. passport
  • Tribal ID card

Examples of Acceptable Photo ID

Register to Vote

  • Voter Registration Form
  • To register to vote in Iowa, you must:
    • Be a citizen of the United States
    • Be a resident of Iowa
    • At least 17 years old to register (must be 18 years old on Election Day to vote)
    • Have not been convicted of a felony (or have had your rights restored)
    • Not currently judged by a court to be ‘incompetent to vote’
    • You must have given up your right to vote in any other place.
  • Voter Preregistration Deadline: Saturday, October 24
    • If you have not registered by this date, you may still register in-person either at the Polk County Election Office or at your precinct on Election Day.
    • The Polk County Auditor’s Office recommends Voter Registration Forms be postmarked by Monday, October 19, to ensure registration by October 24.
  • To register to vote on Election Day, you must:
    • Provide proof of identity with one of the following:
      • Iowa Driver’s License (any type / class), or Non-operator ID
      • Out-of-State Driver’s License, or Non-operator ID (with proof of residency)
      • U.S. Passport
      • U.S. Military or Veteran’s ID card
      • ID card issued by an employer (with exp. date)
      • ID card issued by an Iowa high school or college (with exp. date)
      • Tribal ID
    • ID’s must display the voter’s photo and an expiration date that is unexpired, with the exception of a Military / Veteran’s ID card, which may not have an expiration date.
    • If ID has current address, proof of residency documentation is not needed.
    • Provide proof of residency in the precinct with one of the following (must be current within 45 days)
      • Residential lease
      • Property tax statement
      • Utility bill, including a cell phone bill
      • Bank statement
      • Paycheck or government check
      • Or other government document
  • Links:

Absentee Ballots

  • Absentee Ballot Request Form
  • To vote via absentee ballot, the Polk County Auditor’s Office must have received your request by 5:00 PM on Saturday, October 24. You may mail your request to the Auditor’s Office by sending it to: Polk County Election Office, 120 2nd Avenue, Suite A. Des Moines, IA, 50309.
    • You may also hand-deliver your request to the same address.
  • Please make sure you follow the instructions, located at the bottom of the request form.
  • Absentee ballots will begin being mailed on Monday, October 5.
  • You may track the progress of your absentee ballot request form, when your ballot has been sent to you, and when your ballot was received on the Absentee Ballot Tracking Page
  • Absentee Ballots must be postmarked by Monday, November 2.
  • Requesting an absentee ballot does not obligate you to use it. If you do request one, you may still instead decide to vote in-person early or on Election Day. To do so, you must bring in your absentee ballot and surrender it at your polling site.
  • If you damage your absentee ballot or make a mistake on it, you may contact the Polk County Auditor’s Office, who has procedures for damaged or spoiled ballots.

Voting Early In-Person

  • Also known as “absentee voting in person”
  • Begins on Monday, October 5 at the Polk County Election Office
    • Address: Polk County Election Office, 120 2nd Avenue, Suite A. Des Moines, IA, 50309.
    • Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 AM-5 PM, except holidays (October 12)
      • Open on Saturday, October 24 & 31 from 8 AM – 5 PM as well.
  • Last day to vote early in-person: Monday, November 2.
  • You must have an acceptable form of photo ID.

Voting on Election Day

More information can be found on the Polk County Auditor’s website and the Iowa Secretary of State website.

(All content on this page was created by the Des Moines Public Library.)