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CITY ELECTION FAQs

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We know that there have been changes in Iowa's voting laws this last year, and we want to make sure everyone knows their rights (and responsibilities) when voting in the upcoming city elections.  Here are a few "Frequently Asked Questions" to get you thinking about voting.
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Do I need to register to vote?  

Yes.  In order to vote, you must be registered.  You can register to vote online, or download a voter registration form at sos.iowa.gov/elections/VoterInformation/VoterRegistration.html.  You can also go to your county auditor's office and fill out a form there.  A list of county auditors can be found at: sos.iowa.gov/elections/auditors/auditorslist.html.

Do I need to register before every election?

No, once you are registered to vote, you do not have to re-register unless you've moved or changed your name. 

Is there an easy way to find out if I'm registered to vote, and if I'm registered at my current address?

Yes.  You can check to see if you are registered to vote, and registered at the correct address, on the Secretary of State's website: sos.iowa.gov/elections/voterinformation/voterregistration.html.  

You can also call your county auditor to check.  Your county auditor will be listed in the government pages of your phone book (which are usually blue), or you can find a list online at sos.iowa.gov/elections/auditors/auditorslist.html

Is there a deadline for registration?

Yes.  If you are not yet registered to vote, you have until Friday, October 27, 2017 to pre-register to vote.  Pre-registering means your name will be listed in the voter lists, and you will not have to fill out extra paperwork or show proof that you should be able to vote.  It's a good idea to pre-register to vote.

Does that mean I can't vote if I miss the pre-registration deadline?

No! Iowa voters may register and vote on Election Day. To do so, you first must go to the correct polling place for your current address on Election Day. If you are not sure where to go, click here to find your polling place.  

At the polling place, you must prove both who you are and where you live. The best way to do this is with a valid Iowa driver’s license or non-operator ID with your current address printed on it.  If you do not have an Iowa driver’s license or non-operator ID, you may use a photo ID that is current and valid, as long as it includes an expiration date (or states that the card does not expire). The following are acceptable IDs:

    • Out-of-state driver's license or non-driver ID card
    • U.S. passport
    • U.S. military ID
    • ID card issued by employer
    • Student ID issued by Iowa high school or college

If your photo ID does not contain your current address, you may use another document to prove where you live if it contains your name and current address. The following are acceptable proofs of residence:

    • Residential lease
    • Utility bill (including a cell phone bill)
    • Bank statement
    • Paycheck
    • Government check or other government document

Finally, if you cannot prove who you are and where you live with the documents listed above, a registered voter from your precinct may attest for you. Both you and the attester will be required to sign an oath swearing the statements being made are true. Falsely attesting or being attested for is registration fraud, which is a class “D” felony punishable by a fine of up to $7,500 and up to 5 years in prison. 

Do I need to show an ID to vote?

Registered voters will not have to show an ID to vote until January 1, 2018.  Your election officials may ask you for an ID, or let you know that you will be required to show an ID in the future, but you will not be required to show an ID for the city elections on November 7.  

How do I find out who is on the ballot?

Most auditors will have sample ballots on their websites.  Auditors are also required to print sample ballots in the county's main newspaper sometime in the three weeks leading up to the election.  

If you want to find out more about the candidates, attend a local candidate forum or do a simple google search to find out who is on the ballot.  If you still aren't sure where to look, go to your local public library and ask a librarian.  After all, libraries are funded by your cities!

I may need accommodation to vote.  Is that okay?

Absolutely!  Iowans are fortunate to have a very accessible system, and election officials will find a way to make sure you are able to exercise your right to vote without interference.  The Secretary of State's office has listed the many ways you can vote here: sos.iowa.gov/disabilities.html.  You can also watch a video message for voters with disabilities at: https://vimeo.com/186304867.  

If you have any other voting-related questions, you can always contact ID Action. Voter participation is important to us, and a key part of the ID Action mission.  Just call ID Action at 866-432-2846.