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How to Vote Safely in Iowa for the 2020 Election

Posted By Emily Anderson - 10.19.20

This November, Iowans will have the opportunity to cast their votes in local and federal elections.  Voting in a pandemic may pose health and safety concerns for many Iowans.  This is your guide to voting safely in the 2020 election.

FIRST THINGS FIRST – REGISTER TO VOTE: voting-safely-2020

  • All Iowans are required to register to vote before casting a ballot. The Iowa Secretary of State’s website has everything you need to know about voting, starting with how to register.   The link to the website is:  https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/voterinformation
  • If you do not have access to a computer, you can call (888) 767-8683.
  • You can register by mail, or online. Go to the website above and click on the “Voter Registration” link.
  • If you do not know whether you are registered, click on the “Am I registered to vote in Iowa?” link.
  • The pre-registration deadline is October 28th. You can still register the day of, but you will need specific documents showing who you are and where you live.  The website explains what documents to bring.

VOTE BY MAIL OR IN PERSON EARLY: 

  • The state of Iowa is mailing absentee ballot applications to all registered voters.  Simply complete the absentee ballot request form and follow the directions to return the application. Then the absentee ballot will be sent to you.
  • If you want to download the application, go the website above.
  • The application must be received by the voter’s County Auditor no later than 5:00 p.m., 10 days before the election.
  • Any absentee ballot must be postmarked by November 2nd, or you can drop your ballot off in person on November 3rd at your polling place.
  • If you want to vote in person, but also want to avoid election-night crowds, you can bring your completed absentee ballot to your local county auditor’s office. Call your local office for specific times.
  • Mail and early in-person voting begin on October 5th.

VOTE IN PERSON – ON ELECTION DAY – NOVEMBER 3rd:

  • Go the correct polling place! To find where you are supposed to vote, head to this link above and click on the “Find your Precinct/Polling Place” link.
  • Avoid the crows by voting early or late. The polls are open from 7am to 9pm.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Bring hand sanitizer and your own pen. Sanitize your hands both on the way in and out.
  • Spend as little time as possible in the voting booth. Research who you are voting ahead of time.  Follow the link above and click on “General Candidate List” to find a list of all candidates.

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