Estate planning, nonprofit formation, and charitable giving are extremely important, but guess what else is something worth writing about? Voting! Casting a ballot may seem like a small action, but collectively our votes can make a big impact.
Tomorrow, September 24, is National Voter Registration Day. The unofficial national “holiday” was first recognized in 2012. It’s a non-partisan event and all about rallying people to register as voters and encourage Americans to make their voices heard. It’s a great day to set aside politics and ideological differences in the name of democracy through fostering civic unity.
Indeed, every year lots of people find out they are unable to cast a vote in an election because they missed the registration deadline, failed to update their registration, or weren’t sure how to register in the first place.
Voting laws and regulations vary from state to state, so I recommend checking in on this website (Vote 411) for your particular state regarding the details for where you live.
General Voting Registration Information for Iowa
Here is some specific information regarding voter registration in Iowa:
- You may register in person at the polls on Election Day, but you have to make certain to bring the correct voter ID. (But, if you register in advance it will expedite your Voting Day experience.)
- You can opt to mail in the form, but if you go with this option, the form must be received by election officials at least 10 days before primary and general elections, and 11 days before all other elections. If you mail your registration application, it must be postmarked 15 days before the election or received by either 10 or 11 days before the election, depending on the type of election.
- Good news: registration is permanent. After you register, you do not have to register again unless you move!
ID Needed for Voter Registration (in Advance of Election Day) in Iowa
To register to vote in Iowa, you must provide an Iowa driver’s license number or a social security number. That said, there is a box to check on the voter registration form if you have neither of those numbers.
ID Needed for Voter Registration (on Election Day) in Iowa
If you choose to register for the first time on Election Day at the polls, or after a recent move to Iowa, you must prove both who you are and where you live. You can use any of these forms of ID as long as they are current, valid, and contain an expiration date:
- Iowa drivers license
- Iowa non-driver ID card
- Out-of-state driver’s license or non-driver ID card
- US passport
- US military ID
- ID card issued by employer
- Student ID issued by Iowa high school or college
- Tribal ID
If your photo ID does not contain your current address, you can use another document to prove where you live. The following options are deemed acceptable proof of residence as long as they contain your name, current address, and are current within 45 days:
- Residential lease
- Utility bill (including a cell phone bill)
- Bank statement
- Government check or other government documents
If you don’t have any of the documents at the polling place and are asked for ID, if you have another voter who knows you and is registered in the same precinct they can vouch for your ID and residence.
The final option when registering at a polling place and you don’t have the necessary ID or someone to vouch for you, you can cast a provisional ballot.
Think you may be Registered to Vote Already?
When are Upcoming Elections in Iowa?
It’s not just the presidential election you should vote it! Voter registration enables you to vote in local and state elections that can have a much more direct effect on your specific community. It also enables you to participate in the always exciting Iowa Caucuses. Check out this page for upcoming elections in your state. (Select your state and election date and hit apply.)