Ins and Outs of Voting

Voting can be a hassle. I get it. College students have things going on, and we don’t want to stop our day to vote for someone. Maybe you’re not sure how to register, or you’re not sure what the candidates believe in. There’s so many questions that come with voting, and I’m here to try to answer them.

  1. 1. How Do I Register?

    Online registration is probably the least time consuming. If you click this link it will take to registering or updating your registration in Iowa. All you need to register online is a valid Iowa ID and social security number. If you do not have an ID, you can register in person either at your polling place the day of the election, or at your local DOT/DMV. You can also print off a registration form and mail it to your county auditor’s office. For that, you will just need your social security number and an address. 

  2. 2. What is Needed to Vote In Person?

    I voted sticker

    In order to vote in person you do need a form of ID. If you don’t have one, you can request a voter ID from your county auditor. Once you have an ID, you’re ready to go. All that’s needed now is finding where to vote. On vote.org there’s a polling place locator for every state. No matter if you’re living in Iowa right now or not, you can find where you need to go there.

  3. 3. How Do I Get a Mail in Ballot?

    Voting by mail or voting absentee is something college students have been doing for many years. Because of Covid-19, many more people are expected to vote this way. 

    Voting by mail is exactly what it sounds like. You will request a ballot to be sent to your current address from your county’s auditor. Then you will fill it out, send it back, and your vote will be counted. Be sure you follow all the instructions given on the ballot. If your permanent address and residing address are different, that is just fine. Request your ballot from the county your permanent address is in. For many college students, that’s the county their parents live in. You have to request your ballot by October 24.

  4. 4. When Should I Send in My Mail in Ballot?

    Election Ballot

    It is important that you send in your ballot at least one week before the election on November 3. The sooner you send it in, the better. The postal service will be working as quickly as they can, but you need to do your part to make sure your ballot gets there in time.

  5. 5. If I Request a Ballot, Can I Change My Mind and Vote in Person?

    One very important thing to know is if you request a mail ballot, but decide to vote in person, you must bring in your ballot to your polling place. If you do not do this, it will seem as if you tried to vote twice, and your vote will likely not be counted that day in order to avoid fraud. Be sure that once you get a ballot, you keep it in a very safe place.

  6. 6. How Can I Find Information on the Candidates?

    This step is probably the easiest one. Ballot Ready is a great resource where anyone can find information on who’s running from President, down to State Senate. Click on any name to find about who they are and find the link to their website.

  7. 7. What District Do I Live In?

    Element5 Digital

    When looking at who’s running, there are multiple districts for the House of Representatives. To find out your district, simply look up “what congressional district is (my town) in”. For example, Iowa City is in the 2nd congressional district. 

If you still have unanswered questions, there are helpful resources on campus. At University of Iowa there is an organization called Hawk the Vote that’s there to help you know how to vote. You can visit their website vote.uiowa.edu. I know it can be a lot, but voting is worth it. You have the opportunity to change the future. Go vote for what you believe in.