Voter guide: What you need to know about early voting, voting by mail and Election Day voting

Early voting in Iowa for the Nov. 3, 2020, election begins Oct. 5 and ends Nov. 2. Here's what you need to know and where you can go to find information about voting and the candidates on the ballot. 


 Linn County elections services

 Johnson County elections services

 Iowa Secretary of State's website

• THE CANDIDATES: See how candidates responded to questions from The Gazette

• THE JUDGES: Learn more about the judges on the back of the ballot

• CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION? Why this is on the ballot and what it means if you vote yes or no

Make sure you are registered to vote:

Check your registration: Fill in your information on the Secretary of State's site to see if you are registered.

If you need to register: You can register online 10 days before the election via the Iowa DOT website.

Election Day registration: You can register on Election Day in Iowa at your polling place. You will need an ID and proof of address. Find more details on the Secretary of State's site

If you want to vote early in person:

Don't forget your ID: Remember that voters will be asked to show a driver's license, non-driver's ID, passport, military ID, veterans ID, tribal ID, or Voter ID Card before they vote.

In Linn County: Early voting begins Oct. 5 near the Linn County Public Service Center, 823 Third St. SW, Cedar Rapids. Voting hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Nov. 2 You also can vote there on Saturdays on Oct. 24 and 31.

There will be in-person voting 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays in the Lindale Mall Food Court starting Oct. 6 till Oct. 28. There also are satellite voting locations scheduled throughout the month.

For more information, see the Auditor's Office full list of sites, visit the website at linncountyelections.org, or email elections@linnCounty.org or call 319-892-5300 ext 1.

In Johnson County: Early voting begins on Oct. 5 at the parking ramp north of the Johnson County Health and Human Services Building, 855 S. Dubuque St. The entrance to drive up voting will be off Clinton St. Voting hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Nov. 2.

There also are scheduled voting hours on Saturdays and Sundays, and at satellite voting locations. Visit the Johnson County auditor's website for details. 

If you want to vote on Election Day, Nov. 3:

What you need: Voters will be asked to show a driver's license, non-driver's ID, passport, military ID, veterans ID, tribal ID, or Voter ID Card before they vote.

Hours: Polls are open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Where: Voters must go to their designated precinct to vote on Election Day. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some locations may have changed or combined. Check with your county auditor for details or use the look-up tools below:

• Linn County: To find your polling place, follow the steps in the county's look-up tool using your address.

• Johnson County: To find your polling place, enter your address in the auditor's office polling place finder

• Other locations: Check the Iowa Secretary of State's polling place finder.

If you plan to vote by mail:

Absentee ballots will begin being sent out Oct. 5 and can be requested until Oct. 24. When returning by mail, they must be postmarked by Nov. 2. You also can turn in your ballot by Nov. 3 at your auditor's office before polls close.

To request a ballot: Contact your auditor's office. 

• Linn County: Visit this website for details, or email elections@linnCounty.org or call 319-892-5300 ext 1.

• Johnson County: Visit this website for details, or email elections@johnsoncountyiowa.gov or call 319-356-6004.

Track your ballot: Visit bit.ly/TrackMyAbsentee, to learn when your absentee ballot request was received, when it your ballot is mailed, and when the auditor's office receives your returned ballot.

If you planned to vote by mail but decide you want to vote in person:

On Election Day, if you haven't sent in your absentee ballot: Take your absentee ballot with you to your polling place and surrender it to the poll workers. They will call the auditor's office, which will void out your absentee ballot request, and you will vote a regular ballot.

If the auditor's office already received your absentee ballot: You will vote a provisional ballot. The provisional ballot will be counted only if your mailed absentee ballot gets rejected. If your absentee ballot is accepted, your provisional will be rejected.

If you want to vote early in person before Election Day:

• If you have your received your ballot, fill it out and drop it off at the auditor's office. 

• If you have not received your ballot, you can come to the office and vote a ballot. Your original absentee request will have to be voided, so if you receive your original ballot in the mail return it to the office unvoted, and it will be shredded.

MORE VOTING BY MAIL FAQS: Get answers to frequent questions about absentee voting in Iowa

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.