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Election Day FAQ: Where to go and what you need to vote on Tuesday


Voters cast their ballots at Horace Mann Elementary School in Iowa City on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Q: When are polls open on Tuesday? (Also, where do I vote?)

A: Voting starts at 7 a.m. and ends at 9 p.m., although if you’re in line when the clock strikes 9, you will still be allowed to cast a ballot.

Anyone unsure where to vote can use the online look-up tools provided by the Johnson County Auditor’s Office and the Linn County Auditor’s Office. Both Iowa City and Cedar Rapids are trying to make it easier for you to get to the voting booth, by making all bus rides free on Election Day. There are limitations though — there’s no Iowa City bus service to the precinct 10 voting site at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area, and bus service in Cedar Rapids ends almost three hours before the polls close.

For those who prefer a car to a bus, Uber and Lyft will be offering discounted rides to polling locations on Tuesday.

Q: What sort of ID do I need to vote?

A: As long as you’re already a registered voter, you don’t need any form of ID to vote in this election.

You may be asked for ID, but you still have the option of signing an oath attesting to your identity instead of producing ID. Under the voter ID law passed by the Iowa legislature in 2017, the oath option ends on Jan. 1, 2019. After that, you’ll need one of the following IDs to vote:

• Iowa Driver’s License

• Iowa Non-Operator’s ID

• Military ID

• U.S. Passport

• Tribal ID

• Veteran’s ID

• Voter ID Card

Q: I want to vote, but I’m not registered. What are my options?

A: Iowa has same-day registration, so any adult citizen who goes to the precinct that corresponds to their home address, and hasn’t been stripped of their right to vote by a felony conviction or a judge’s order, can register and immediately exercise the franchise.

To register on Election Day, you’ll need a valid Iowa driver’s license or one of the following form of identification:

• Iowa non-driver ID card

• Out-of-state driver’s license or non-driver ID card

• U.S. passport

• U.S. military ID

• ID card issued by employer

• Student ID issued by Iowa high school or college

• Tribal ID

If your photo ID doesn’t have your current address, you’ll need to bring one of the following proofs of residence:

• Residential lease

• Utility bill (including a cell phone bill)

• Bank statement

• Paycheck

• Government check or other government document

Even if you don’t have an acceptable photo ID or proof of residence, you may still register to vote, provided you can persuade a friend who is already registered to vote to vouch for you. The ID-deficient person and the registered voter will both have to sign oaths, attesting to the identity and home address of the ID-deficient person.

If you’ve moved since the last time you’ve voted and you haven’t yet updated your voter registration with your new address, you can do that at your new polling place on Election Day. To update the address, you’ll need one of the photo IDs listed above. It’s OK if the ID has your old address, although if you’ve moved into a new voting precinct, you’ll also need one of the proofs of residence listed above.

Q: Is assistance available for voters with disabilities?

A: Yes. Each precinct should have two officials — a Democrat and a Republican — designated to assist voters with special needs. If the voter prefers to have someone other than the designated officials assist, that person will have to sign an Affidavit of Voter Requesting Assistance, according to the Iowa Secretary of State.

Curbside voting is also available for those unable to easily exit their vehicles. Once alerted to a voter requesting the curbside option, the two appointed precinct officials will bring a ballot to the voter.

Anyone with questions about assistance with voting should call the Johnson County Auditor’s Office, 319-356-6004, or the Linn County Auditor’s Office, 319-892-5300.

Q: According to CNN and a few other news sites, it’s illegal to take a selfie while voting in Iowa. Is that right?

A: No, CNN and the others are wrong. Ballot selfies are legal in Iowa, as long as the picture-taker isn’t disrupting the voting process, bothering other voters or using the selfie as part of some voter fraud scheme.

“I’ve always been for them. We’re a college town,” Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert said when Little Village asked him about ballot selfies last week. “After all, I can’t come to your house and stop you from taking a selfie with an absentee ballot, so as long as you’re not causing a problem I don’t see why I should stop you at a polling place.”


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