Voting with Disabilities
I’m proud that Iowa is one of the nation’s leaders in voting accessibility. My office will continue to strive to increase participation while maintaining the
integrity of the vote. Hundreds of thousands of brave Americans fought to defend our freedoms and the right to choose our form of government. There is not a higher
honor we can give them than fulfilling our civic duty by voting.
Paul D. Pate
Iowa Secretary of State
Voting with Assistance in Iowa
Voting at the polls can present a unique set of challenges to people with disabilities. It is the intent of federal law to ensure that voters with disabilities are fully able to exercise their voting rights at the polls.
If you or a family member need special assistance to vote, you have the right to an accessible voting location, accessible voting equipment and to receive assistance in casting your ballot.
Below, you will find more information on ways you or a family member that needs assistance can vote.
Special message to military veterans and their families:
Election Day in Iowa
How can I vote absentee?
Beginning 20 days before the General Election, you may vote in person at your county auditor’s office. This might be helpful if you need a little extra time or personalized assistance. Some counties allow you to use satellite voting locations. Contact your county auditor to find out if a satellite voting location is available in your area.
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You can register to vote on Election Day. You must prove both who you are and where you live. Make sure to bring current identification that contains a photo of you and an expiration date.Proof of ID:
- Driver's license
- US Passport
- US Military ID
- ID Card issued by employer
- Student ID issued by Iowa High School or College
- Tribal ID
- Residential Lease
- Utility Bill
- Bank Statement
- Government Check
- Other Government Document
I can’t leave my home, can I still vote?
Yes! You may request an absentee ballot by printing a request form from our website: sos.iowa.gov
I need help filling out my ballot, can someone help me?
- You may request assistance for marking or casting a ballot. Any voter may declare upon oath that the voter is blind, cannot read the English language, or is, by reason of any physical disability, unable to cast a vote without assistance.
- Voters may choose any person to assist them, except their employer, employer’s agent or an office/agent of their union. Voters may also request assistance from a precinct election official. Two precinct officials, one from each political party, may assist. If a person other than the precinct official assists the voter, the person assisting the voter must sign the Affidavit of Voter Requesting Assistance.
- Each polling place has a voter assist terminal. This device is available for any voter. To mark their ballots, voters use features on the machine such as a touch screen, an audio component and/or a sip and puff element to select their candidate. The device will then mark their ballot according to their selections.
I am unable to leave my car, can someone bring a ballot to my car?
Yes! If you are unable to enter the building where the polling place is located because of disability, two precinct election officials, one from each party, will take a ballot and election supplies outside to the voter. The voter may then mark the ballot in the voter’s vehicle. The voter must sign the Affidavit of Voter Requesting Assistance. It is not required, but would be helpful to contact the county auditor’s office, to let them know that you will be voting curbside.
I have a conservator or guardian. Can I still vote?
Yes! You can still vote, unless a judge has specifically said in a court ruling that you may not vote.
How does an accessible voting machine work?
Each polling place will have an accessible voting machine. There are 4 different machines approved in Iowa. County Auditors chose which machine they want to use. To find out which machine your county uses, please click on this link: https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/pdf/covotesystem.pdf then look up your county and note the accessible system machine they use. Then come back to this page and click on your county’s machine below: