Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some important changes have been made for voting in Iowa's primary on June 2, 2020. These changes apply ONLY to this primary this year.
Find out more about how to vote in Iowa.
What does the June primary do?
In Iowa's June 2 primary election, registered voters will choose candidates from their own political party to run in the General Election in November. Voters will decide nominees for federal, state, and county races. For example, Democrats will decide which candidate they want to face Joni Ernst in the November general election and Republicans will decide which candidate they want to face Abby Finkenauer. Many Iowa House and Senate districts will also have primaries.
Iowans must be affiliated with a political party in order to participate in the party’s primary. You can pick or change your party affiliation on the absentee ballot application.
What are the key changes?
To encourage social distancing for the June 2 primary, the Iowa Secretary of State’s office is:
- Extending the period that people can vote early by mail
- Making it easier for people to vote early by mail by automatically mailing key materials to some Iowans
- Expanding curbside voting to more Iowans
How does voting by mail work?
Often also called “absentee voting,” it’s a two-step process.
- First, you fill out an application for an absentee ballot. Once you receive that application, you fill it out and mail it to your county auditor.
- You are then mailed an actual ballot. Fill it out and return it according to the directions included with the ballot.
What key materials will be mailed to me?
Just for the June 2 primary, the state government in April sent a special ballot request form flier to all registered Iowa voters. If you haven’t received one and want one, contact your county auditor’s office. (This flyer has raised privacy concerns with some voters. Click here for tips on how to work around that.)
What aspects of voting by mail have been changed for the June primary?
The early voting period by mail has been extended to 40 days and it begins on April 23.
To encourage more Iowans to vote by mail during this crisis, the Secretary of State will automatically mail an absentee ballot application to every active, registered voter who was registered to vote as of early April (around April 6). Prepaid postage will be included for returning the application to your county auditor. This will be a one-time mailing.
What if I am not one of those "active registered voters” as of early April? Or I don’t know if I am? Or I simply don’t receive an absentee ballot application in the mail?
You’ll need to do the following:
- Check with your county auditor’s office or the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office at 515-281-5204.
- You can also download an application for a ballot here.
- You must return the completed application to your county auditor to get an absentee ballot. That application must be received by your county auditor by 5:00 p.m.on May 22.
- Once you receive your absentee ballot in the mail, fill it out and put it in the mail no later than June 1.
What about people in health care facilities?
County auditors must mail absentee ballots (rather than having them delivered, which promotes person-to-person contact) to those people who are registered to vote and who are in a health care facility, dementia-specific assisted living program, or hospital.
What kind of identification do I need?
From now through the June 2 primary, you can use any of the usual identification required in Iowa to register to vote or as identification on Election Day.
For the June 2 primary, however, the state is allowing an additional type of ID. It is allowing voters to use an expired Iowa driver’s license (normally it may not be expired) as long as it has an expiration date of January 1, 2020, or later.
Who can vote curbside?
Curbside voting is now an option for Iowans who are in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at-risk populations for COVID-19. It also remains an option for Iowans with disabilities or Iowans who might have trouble entering a polling place.
What about voting early in person?
Voting early in-person (bringing a completed absentee ballot to your county auditor’s office) has not been extended. That period remains 29 days before Election Day. So for the June 2 primary, the earliest day voters can bring their completed absentee ballot in-person to their county auditor’s office is May 4.