Frequently Asked Questions
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Election General Information
What is Voter ID?
Voters must provide a valid form of identification to vote. Voters who do not have a valid ID may have another registered voter in the precinct attest to their identity (attestor must provide valid ID), use Election Day Registration documents, or may cast a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot is a ballot that is reviewed by a bipartisan team at a later date, therefore, is not tabulated on Election Day. There are six approved types of identification that may be used:
- Iowa Driver’s License (not expired more than 90 days)
- Iowa Non-operator ID (not expired more than 90 days)
- U.S. Passport (not expired)
- U.S. Military ID or Veteran ID (not expired)
- Iowa Voter Identification Card (must be signed)
- Tribal ID Card/Document (must be signed, with photo, not expired)
What if I do not have an ID?
Registered voters who do not have an Iowa Driver’s License or Iowa Non-Operator ID are issued an Iowa Voter Identification or PIN Card. The Voter ID Card contains a PIN Number that will be used specifically for voting purposes and must be signed before going to the polls. If you should have a Voter ID Card and do not, please contact our office to have one sent to you.
Where do I vote?
Where you vote is determined by where you live and you must vote in the precinct to which you are assigned for your ballot to be counted. To find your polling place please visit the Polling Places page on our website.
Can I vote for someone that is not on the ballot?
Yes. For each race on the ballot a blank line is provided to write in a name of whomever you choose. Make sure you fill in the oval that is in front of the name you wrote.
Do I have to vote for everything on the ballot?
No. You can vote for as much or as little as you would like; it’s all up to you!
Can I get a new ballot if I make a mistake or lose my ballot?
Yes. If you make a mistake on an absentee ballot, mark your return absentee envelope "SPOILED” and return to the Auditor’s office via mail or in person. If you return your absentee ballot by mail, contact the Auditor’s office to request a new one.
On Election Day, if you make a mistake, write “SPOILED” across the ballot and return to the precinct election official to receive a new one.
If I change my mind on who I want to vote for after I have returned my ballot, can I get a new one?
No. If you have already returned your absentee ballot to the Auditor’s office you may not request a new ballot if you have changed your mind on who you wish to vote for.
Can an Independent or No Party vote in a Primary Election?
Yes and No. In Iowa, you must be a member of a political party to vote in a Primary Election. Those who are registered as Independent or No Party need to declare affiliation with a political party to participate in the Primary Election.
If I chose a party do I have to vote for all of their candidates?
It depends on the election. For Primary Elections, you can only vote for candidates from the party to which you belong. In General Elections, you are free to vote for anyone you like, regardless of their party affiliation.
Do I have to register to vote for every election?
No. You would only need to re-register if your information has changed and you need to update it.
Can I update my voter registration over the phone?
No. All updates to voter registration must be made in writing or online through the Iowa DOT if you have an Iowa Driver's License or Iowa Non-operator ID.
How do I update my address?
If you have moved recently and need to update your address simply fill out a new voter registration form and submit it to the Auditor’s Office. If you do not update your address after a move through a new voter registration form and do not vote in the next general election, you will be marked inactive (inactive voters may still vote with proper ID). Registration will be canceled if two more general elections pass with no voter activity.
I just registered and received a card in the mail but there is a mistake on it; what do I do now?
If you notice a mistake on your voter card please contact the Auditor’s Office and/or submit a new registration form to correct your information.
I registered as an independent; why does my card say "NP" or "No Party"?
Iowa does not recognize an “Independent” party. Instead, “No Party” is used to indicate a lack of affiliation with a political party.
Can someone with a previous felony conviction vote?
Those with a prior felony conviction are permitted to vote if their voting rights have been restored by the Governor, including through Executive Order. For more information about restoration of rights, contact the Governor’s office or visit the voter registration page on our website
Can a homeless person register to vote?
Yes. Any eligible voter in Iowa may register to vote. Many of those who are homeless have a nontraditional address. A person without a home just needs to provide an address or description of where they sleep the most, wherever that may be.
Do absentee ballots even get counted?
Yes. There is a myth that absentee ballots only get counted if the election is close, however this is not true. Under Iowa law, every ballot must be counted.
Can I request an absentee ballot by email?
Yes. You may complete an absentee ballot request form, email the request to our office, and a ballot will be mailed to you. However, in order for your ballot to be counted you must also mail in or drop off the original absentee ballot request form by Election Day.
Can I pick up or request a ballot for someone else?
No. In Iowa you can only request an absentee ballot for yourself.
Can someone else return my absentee ballot for me?
Yes, with restrictions. Only those who meet the criteria listed below are allowed to return absentee ballots.
- The voter.
- Someone living in the voter’s household.
- An immediate family member.
- A special precinct election official delivering a ballot as it relates to health care facilities.
- A delivery agent, if the voter is unable to return a ballot due to blindness or other disability.
- A delivery agent must return the ballot in person, not by mail or drop box.
- A delivery agent cannot return more than two absentee ballots per election.
- A delivery agent cannot be the voter’s employer or agent of the employer, an officer or agent of the voter’s union, or an actual or implied agent for a political party, candidate, or committee.
- A delivery agent must collect a signed form by the voter, stating they are being designated as a delivery agent. When delivering a ballot, the agent must provide the same identification as a voter at the polls and supply the signed designation form to the Auditor’s office.
- Someone returning an absentee ballot who is not allowed to or lies about it, commits a serious misdemeanor.
Do I need to sign the return envelope of my absentee ballot?
Yes! Your absentee ballot cannot be counted unless you sign the affidavit envelope that you seal your voted ballot in. If we receive a ballot back without a signature on the affidavit envelope, we will attempt to contact you to cure the ballot. Once contacted, you may decide to either:
- Request a replacement ballot and return it by 8:00 p.m. on election day
- Vote at the polls on election day
- Sign the affidavit in person at the county auditor’s office by 8:00 p.m. on election day
What is the last day I can turn in my absentee ballot?
You may hand deliver your ballot to the Auditor’s office up until the time polls close on Election Day.
Can I use power of attorney to request a ballot for my spouse, child or parent?
No. Under Iowa law, power of attorney does not apply for election related matters.
Does Marion County have a drop box for absentee ballots?
No. Ballots may be hand delivered to the Auditor’s office during regular business hours or returned with prepaid postage provided through the mail.
Can I get help marking my ballot?
Yes. If you need assistance completing your ballot, ask a precinct election official for help. A team of one Republican and one Democrat may help you mark your ballot. Each polling place also has an easy to use handicapped accessible marking device that can assist in the voting process as well.
Can I register to vote on Election Day?
Yes. Iowa law allows for Election Day Registration if you are able to provide Proof of Identification and Proof of Residency.
PROOF OF IDENTITY (must include a photo and current and valid expiration date).
- Iowa Driver’s License or Iowa Non-operator ID
- Out of state Driver’s License or Non-operator ID
- U.S. Passport
- U.S. Military ID or Veteran ID
- ID card issued by employer
- Student ID issued by an Iowa high school or college
- Tribal ID Card/Document (must be signed, with photo, not expired)
If the above Proof of Identity does not contain the voter's current residence, an Election Day Registrant must provide a seperate Proof of Residence.
PROOF OF RESIDENCE (must include name & current address, be current within 45 days, may be in electronic format).
- Residential Lease
- Utility Bill, including a cell phone bill
- Bank statement
- Government Check
- Other government document
- Property tax statement (current within 45 days of final payment date)
Can I take my absentee ballot to the polls on Election Day and vote there?
Yes. While we prefer you vote the ballot that was mailed to you, you are allowed to surrender your absentee ballot at the polls on Election Day and vote there.
Do I need to show ID to vote?
Beginning January 1, 2019, Iowa voters will be required to show a driver’s license, non-driver’s ID, passport, military ID, veterans ID, Tribal ID or Voter ID Card at the polls before they vote. Voters, starting in 2019, without an ID may cast a provisional ballot or have another registered voter attest to their identity.
I am already registered but my information needs updated; can I do that on Election Day?
Yes. While we recommended updating your information prior to Election Day to expedite the voting process, you may wait to do this on the day of the election. If you are updating your address, make sure you go to the correct polling place for your new address. When updating your address you will need to provide:
Proof of Residency in addition to Proof of Identity.
I can't get out of my car; can someone bring me a ballot to vote from there?
Yes. If you are unable to enter the polling place, a bipartisan team of election workers will be sent to your car to help you vote.
I lost my absentee ballot; can I just go vote on Election Day?
Yes. When you go to vote, a precinct election official will verify with the Auditor’s Office that your absentee ballot has not been returned. If the Auditor’s Office has not received a ballot you will be able to vote.
What do I need to bring with me to vote?
Starting in January of 2019 you will be required to show identification. If you need to register to vote on Election Day, you must bring proof of identification and proof of residency.
What if I lost my ID or forgot to take one with me to the polls?
If you do not have your ID, you may either cast a provisional ballot or have another registered voter attest to your identity. Attesters must provide proper identification for themselves in order to attest to another voter’s identification.
What if I'm still waiting in line when the polls close?
As long as you are in line to vote at the time polls close you will be allowed to vote.
How do I add or remove a name on my property?
We can only make changes to parcels with an officially recorded document. To add or remove someone from ownership on your property following a marriage, divorce, death, etc., we recommend contacting an attorney so proper documentation may be created and recorded.
How do I combine parcels?
Often a combine of parcels can be done with a simple request to our office. However, in order to be combined, parcels must hold the same type of class for taxation (e.g. Agricultural, Residential, Commercial) and must hold ownership with the same exact name or names.
How do I get an abstract for my property?
Contact an abstract/title search company to have one prepared.
How do I split a parcel of land?
A split of land must be approved by the necessary planning department. If you live in a city you should start the process with your city’s planning department. If you live in the County, outside any city limits, you should start the process with the County Planning and Zoning Dept.
Map · Marion County Auditor & Elections
214 E Main St · Knoxville, IA 50138