Iowa voting issues

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Election and registration information

Election Day registration

As of January 1, 2008, you may register to vote on Election Day at the polling place for the precinct you currently live in. If you register to vote on Election Day, you will be required to show proof of identity and residency.

Voter ID requirements

You may need to show identification at the polls on Election Day if:

  • You register to vote by mail after January 1, 2003, and you have never voted in a primary or general election in your county;
  • Your voter registration is inactive;
  • You have moved from the address where you are registered to vote;
  • Your right to vote is challenged; or
  • The precinct election officials do not know you.

If you are asked to show identification, you may use any of the following forms of identification if it has your name and current address:

  • A current and valid photo ID (driver's license, non-driver ID card, or student ID card);
  • Current utility bill;
  • Current bank statement, paycheck or government check; or
  • Other current government document.

Provisional voting

If your name is not on the list of registered voters or if someone challenges your right to vote on Election Day, you have the right to cast a provisional ballot. Your ballot will be placed in an envelope that has a place for you to explain why you believe your ballot should be counted.

A special board will meet after Election Day to review your registration record and the information you provided. The board will then decide if your ballot can be counted. Before you leave the polls on Election Day, you will be given a written notice explaining your voting rights and listing the date on which the special ballot board will meet so you may be present to observe and present more information to the board.

If your ballot is not counted, you will receive a letter in the mail explaining why it was not counted.

Main article: Provisional voting

Voting machines

2008 election

For the 2008 election Iowa used the following voting machines. For a county-by-county list of the specific machines (and the source for this section) see Verified Voting's Verifier tool.

Main article: Voting machines

Optical scan machines:

Assistive Devices for Marking Paper Ballots:

Governmental election authorities

Secretary of State Michael Mauro

Contact information:

  • Elections
  • First Floor, Lucas Building
  • 321 E. 12th St.
  • Des Moines, IA 50319
  • 515-281-0145
  • 515-281-7142 (Fax)

Election threats

For an extensive log of voting machine problems, see the VotersUnite! report on election incidents.[1]

State voter registration procedures

Student voting rights

  • Nov 6, 2008: A Poweshiek County special precinct board has ruled that the votes of Grinnell College students who neglected to include their campus PO box address on their absentee ballots must be counted.[2] Republican Party co-chairs in Poweshiek County had asked election officials to disallow votes from 50 students;[3] the students, who are assigned their own post office box address on campus, had instead used the general campus mailing address on their absentee ballots. However, according to the Poweshiek County Auditor, students have used the general address in past elections without issue.

State and local non-governmental election organizations

Iowa Voters for Open and Transparent Elections


Description: More a blog than a full-fledged organization, but an active one, and the author can put interested parties in contact with each other.

League of Women Voters

LWV of Iowa, Mrs. Audrey Hauter, President

Local Leagues:

Articles and resources

See also


  1. See the VotersUnite! Election Problem Log.
  2. Staci Hupp, Grinnell students' ballots will count, Des Moines Register, November 7, 2008.
  3. Staci Hupp, "Grinnell College students' ballots challenged," Des Moines Register (Iowa), November 4, 2008.

External resources

Poll location

Election Protection hotlines

Voting information

Voting rights

Voting requirements

Election officials, election reform groups, and elected officials

Absentee voting

Disabled voters

Student voting rights

State ballot

  • See how organizations you trust recommend you vote on ballot measures and other statewide contests at TransparentDemocracy.


  • Help in other languages from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. 中文, 日本語, 한국어, Tagalog, Tiếng Việt, Español

Voting machines

Election law

External articles