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Voter Registration Information

Who May Register To Vote

Before you can vote in Iowa, you must be registered. To register to vote in Iowa, you must:

  • be a citizen of the United States
  • be a resident of Iowa
  • be at least 17 - 1/2 years old
    (you must be 18 to vote)
  • not have been convicted of a felony
    (unless your rights have been restored)
  • not currently be judged "mentally incompetent" by a court
  • give up your right to vote in any other place

If you do not meet all these qualifications, you should not register to vote.

Where to Register in Person

  • Office of the County Auditor
  • Driver's license stations
  • Public assistance agencies
  • State offices serving people with disabilities
  • Some city clerks and school board secretaries can register voters. Contact your county auditor for more information.

Where To Get Registration Forms

Voter registration forms may be distributed by anyone who wants to register others to vote. Forms are available from many sources, including:

  • Office of the County Auditor
  • Office of the Iowa Secretary of State: in person, by mail, or website:
    (Voter Registration Form)
  • Most US West Direct telephone books
  • Most McLeod USA telephone books
  • Iowa Income Tax Booklets - even numbered years
  • Back of this guide

Filling Out The Registration Form

Who should fill out the form
You may fill out your own form, or you may ask someone else to do it for you. You have the right to fill out the form privately.

You must sign the form yourself. People with disabilities may have someone else sign the form in the presence of the disabled person, or they may use a rubber stamp.

Changes of registration information
Fill out the entire form every time, even if you are making only one small change. If you are not sure if you are registered to vote, you may submit a registration form to be sure that everything on your registration is up to date.

Payment for registering others
Groups may pay people to help others register to vote. Payment can be made only for a person's time. It is a crime to pay someone for the number of registration forms or the number of registrations by political party.

Required Information

On the top half (or front) of the form:

  • Date of birth
  • Sex (female or male)
  • Full name
  • Address where you live
  • Mailing address, if different from where you live
  • Signature and the current date

On the bottom (or back) of the form:

  • Description of location of residence (only if the person has no street address)
  • Previous voter registration information

Requested Information

  • Social security number
  • County
  • Political party affiliation - this is required information only to vote in a primary election.*
  • School district
  • Telephone number

* It is illegal to attempt to influence the applicant's choice of party affiliation.

Where to Send Completed Forms

Send completed voter registration forms to the appropriate county auditor no later than Friday of the week the form was completed. A county auditor's address list is included in this guide beginning on page 11.

You can take completed voter registration forms to the county auditor's office for yourself or others. If you have collected voter registration forms from other people, do not wait to send them in because you may be risking someone else's right to vote.

Some registration forms can be folded, sealed and mailed without an envelope. Follow the instructions on the form.

What To Do if You Move

If you move to a different county or state, your registration cannot be transferred. You must register to vote again. Contact the Secretary of State's office or your county auditor for more information.

If you move within the county where you are registered to vote, you can write to the county auditor to report your change of address. No special form is required, but be sure to include the following information, your full name, date of birth, former address, and your new address. Your social security number or voter identification number is not required, but is helpful. You may also report a change of address by filling out a new voter registration form. Please fill out the change of address section of the form.

If you have not moved out of the county where you are registered to vote, you may report a change of address at the polls on election day. Go to the polling place for the precinct where you live now. You will be asked to show identification.

Registration is Permanent
You need to register again only if you move to a different county. However, your registration will be canceled if you are convicted of a felony or judged to be mentally incompetent.

Expect a Receipt
Within two weeks after you register you should get a receipt. If you do not get a receipt, call your county auditor.

Voter Registration Deadlines

For most elections, the last day to register to vote is 11 days before the date of the election. For statewide primary and general elections, the deadline is 10 days before the election. There is an election calendar on page 18.