Voter Registration FAQ
- How do I register to vote?
- How do I determine my residence for voter registration purposes?
- I've lost my voter registration card. How do I get it replaced?
- If I am already registered to vote, do I have to register to vote before each election?
- I am retired and spend time at my vacation home during the winters. Can I still vote in Iowa?
- Can someone with the power of attorney sign a voter registration form on a voter's behalf?
- Do I have to vote according to the party affiliation on my voter registration?
- Is my voter registration record information considered public information?
- Can the status of my voter registration change?
For information on how to register to vote and to download and print a fillable voter registration form, visit Voter Registration Information.
A residence for voting purposes is where the voter's home is located. A business or any other non-residential property cannot be used for voter registration purposes unless that place is a primary, nighttime residence for the voter. Homeless people are residents of the place where they usually sleep.
The voter can only declare one residence for voter registration purposes. There is no restriction on how long a voter has to live somewhere before it can become a residence for voting purposes.
The Iowa Code does allow a voter's registration to be challenged for the reason that the voter is not a resident at the address where the voter is registered to vote.
If you've lost your voter registration card, contact your county auditor and ask that a new card be mailed to you. Voter registration cards must be mailed. You may not pick up your registration card at the auditor's office.
Once you have registered to vote, you do not have to register to vote before each election. If you have moved or changed your name, you must update your voter registration. For more information, see Updating Your Voter Registration.
To verify your voter registration, visit Am I Registered to Vote in Iowa?
Iowans who are temporarily away from their homes do not lose residency for voting purposes. As long as a voter does not register in more than one place, the voter's registration status will remain as it is.
An individual who has power of attorney does not have the authority to sign a voter registration form, request an absentee ballot, or cast an absentee ballot on behalf of the voter. If a voter is unable to sign, the voter can use a rubber stamp or mark to sign. The voter may also ask for assistance and have someone sign the form on the voter's behalf as long as it is done in the voter's presence and with the voter's permission.
Ballots are secret and voters have the right to vote for any candidate they want.
The only time that party affiliation is important in terms of voting is in the case of a political party caucus or a primary election. In those cases, voters must be registered with the political party whose caucus or primary they wish to participate in. Voters have the right to change their affiliation and then participate in the caucus or primary election on the day those events are being held. (Ex. Someone who is registered as a Republican may participate in the Democratic primary election by changing his or her political affiliation to Democratic on the day the primary election is held and vice versa.)
Voters can only participate in one party's caucus or primary election each time those events take place.
Voter registration records are public records as defined by Chapter 22 of the Code of Iowa. The records must be available for public inspection at reasonable times (§48A.34). Iowa law does not allow for a voter's registration record to be made private.
Iowa law allows for the purchase of voter registration lists (See Iowa Code section 48A.38.) Requests can be made with the Secretary of State's Office or with a county auditor. Both the Secretary of State's Office and county auditors are required to maintain a log containing the name, address, and telephone number of every person who receives voter registration information.
A voter's Social Security number, driver's license number, non-operator ID number, and the name of an individual agency where a voter registration form was completed are confidential information and are never given to anyone requesting voter lists.
Information from voter registration records can only be used:
- To request a registrant's vote at an election,
- For a genuine political purpose,
- For bona fide political research,
- For a bona fide official purpose by an elected official
Using the information for any commercial purpose is a serious misdemeanor under Iowa law.
Your voter registration status may change if the county auditor's office tried to contact you by mail and the piece of mail was returned undeliverable by the U.S. post office.
Also, voter records may be cancelled if the voter no longer meets the qualifications to vote. For more information on voter registration qualifications, see Pre-Registration information.