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Live Voting Rundown: Frequently asked questions about in-person voting in Iowa

Live Voting Rundown: Frequently asked questions about in-person voting in Iowa

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When is Election Day?

Tuesday, Nov. 3. Iowa polls are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.


Register to vote

To check your current voter registration status, visit the Iowa secretary of state's website,, or contact your county auditor’s office.


In Iowa, there are several ways you can register to vote:

  • Complete an Iowa voter registration form and return to your county auditor’s office

  • Register online: the link to register online can be found at the Iowa secretary of state’s website. (You’ll need a valid Iowa driver’s license or non-operator’s ID.)

  • Register on election day


Registering on election day

To register to vote on Election day, you’ll need to provide one form of ID at your polling place:

  • Iowa driver’s license or non-operator’s ID

  • Out-of-state driver’s license or non-operator’s ID

  • U.S. passport

  • U.S. military ID or non-operator’s ID

  • Employer-issued ID card

  • Student ID issued by Iowa high school or college

  • Tribal ID/document


ID doesn’t state your current address? You’ll also need to provide proof of residence. This should include your name and current address and be current (within the last 45 days). Proof of residence can be in electronic format or on paper:

  • Residential lease

  • Utility bill (including cell phone)

  • Bank statement

  • Paycheck

  • Government check

  • Other government document

  • Property tax statement (current within 45 days of final payment date)


Don’t have an ID or residence? You’ll need an attester.

  • Another registered voter from your precinct can attest for you.

  • Both of you will have to sign an oath swearing your statements are true.

  • Beware: to falsely attest or be attested for is registration fraud, a class D felony punishable by a fine of up to $7,500 and up to 5 years in prison.


Where's my polling place?

To confirm your precinct and polling place, please visit or contact your county auditor’s office.

Bring ID when you arrive to vote

Remember your proof of current address if it isn’t reflected on your ID.

Don’t have these with you at the polls? Another voter at your precinct can attest for you, or you’ll be offered a provisional ballot. 


What’s a provisional ballot?

Provisional ballots are used when: 

  • A person’s voting qualifications are challenged

  • A voter can’t immediately prove their voting qualifications

  • A voter requested an absentee ballot but didn’t surrender it when they arrived to vote in person at their polling place.

When a voter is given a provisional ballot, they have until the time of the county canvass of votes to provide ID or other needed evidence to precinct election officials or the county auditor’s office for the ballot to be counted.

Do I need to wear a mask?

Masks are not required at polling places but are strongly recommended. COVID-19 precautions are in place at polling sites and vary from county to county.

Curbside voting and other assistance

A voter who is physically unable to enter their polling place has the right to vote from their vehicle. One precinct election official from each political party will take the necessary voting materials out to the vehicle. Contact your county auditor’s office, ideally in advance, if you plan to vote curbside, or if you would like more information.

More information is available in the Voting Accessibility section of the Iowa secretary of state’s website. Information about assistance reading English on the ballot can also be found here.

Additionally, there are a number of options for voters with disabilities. For more information, contact your county auditor’s office or visit

Can I bring my kids?

Yes, children are allowed in a voting booth if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

What if I make a mistake on my ballot?

Tell a precinct election official. They’ll have you “spoil” the ballot so it won’t be counted and provide a new one. A voter can receive up to three ballots.

Can I wear campaign buttons, accessories or apparel to the polls?

  • As a voter, yes. 

  • County auditor’s office employees, election officials, poll watchers and observers at satellite voting locations cannot.

Do I get time off work to vote?

  • In Iowa, voters who don’t have three consecutive hours when they don’t need to be at work during polling place hours “are entitled to up to three hours off from work to vote,” the Iowa secretary of state’s website says.
  • The voter must submit a written request to their employer prior to Election Day.

  • The employer will designate the time period the employee can be off work.
  • The employee can’t be penalized or have deductions taken from their paycheck for their absence during this designated time.

Can the media be at the polls?

  • Yes. Credentialed media personnel, including reporters and photographers, are allowed in polling places as long as they don’t interfere with the election process.

  • Media can film and photograph in a polling place, but can’t take images of how an individual marked their ballot. Voters need to give permission to be filmed or photographed.

  • To interview a voter about "how and why they voted, the media must  must be outside the polling place," says the secretary of state website.

Who can be a poll watcher?

A poll watcher must have official permission to be at a polling place on Election Day or in a room where ballots are counted before polls close. A poll watcher must file a designation form with their county auditor prior to Election Day.

Don’t loiter in or near a polling place

  • Voters must leave their polling places as soon as they are finished voting.

  • “Loitering in a polling place while wearing political items is considered electioneering,” says the Iowa secretary of state’s website. Iowa Code Section 39A.4  classifies electioneering as election misconduct in the third degree. 

  • According to Iowa Code, this includes the polling place premises or a boundary of 300 feet from “an outside door of a building affording access to a hallway, corridor, stairway, or other means of reaching the room where the polls are held.” 

Have more questions or want to confirm any of this information for yourself?

Contact your county auditor’s office or refer to the Iowa secretary of state’s website so you can come to the polls with confidence.

This information was gathered from county auditors’ offices in our coverage area and the Iowa secretary of state’s website. 



Voting Locations

For this election, please note that some polling places have been combined. Depending on your precinct, you may vote at a different polling place this election.

If unsure about your voting location, contact your county auditor’s office to confirm.

Cerro Gordo









Mitchell County









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