Voting in Iowa (and other information)

My first job out of college was as a temporary election clerk in Iowa City, where I processed and fulfilled absentee ballot requests, helped register new voters, tested ballot-counting machines, and answered questions from the public about voting deadlines and Election Day rules (for the 2012 general election). I am by no means an expert in the field, but that experience absolutely helped me better understand how the process works from the inside out, opening my eyes to both the immense amount of work involved in running a successful election and how many ways it can totally fall apart.

As far as voting goes, Iowans are relatively lucky. The ongoing sweep of restrictive voter ID laws across the country has not impacted this state. Unless you are registering to vote on Election Day, it is extremely unlikely that you will be asked to show ID at the polls. Additionally, Iowa probably has the longest early voting period in the country, lasting from when ballots become available (for this election, that was around the end of September) to the day before Election Day.

Regardless of where you live, I encourage you to look up voting laws and regulations – especially those pertaining to voter ID, early voting, and accessibility – for your state. While Iowans have a relative wealth of opportunities in these areas, it is absolutely shameful that states exponentially larger than us have shorter early voting periods, and, in many cases, voter ID requirements that are nearly impossible to fulfill for thousands of already-marginalized voters.

Below, I have provided a few links to Iowa election-related information, along with a fancy voter information tool, where you can look up your polling place and read (most of) your ballot.

Voting in Iowa (Ballotpedia)

Election Day FAQ (Iowa Secretary of State)

Election Day Registration (Iowa Secretary of State)

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