If you have not registered to vote yet (you can check here), you will need to register to vote at the location before you vote. The Iowa Secretary of State lists the documents that are accepted for identification and if needed, proof of address. We recommend you have those on hand on Voting Day to make the process smooth and efficient for our poll workers, or in case your registration was somehow not received.
2. When to Vote
- Absentee: If you requested a ballot before an election, you should be able to mail your ballot, return it in person to the dropbox outside the county auditor's office, or designate someone else to drop it off for you. If you decide to vote in person on Election Day and you requested an absentee ballot, you need to bring your absentee ballot to your polling place, where they will ask you to mark it as void, and you can vote with a normal ballot.
- Early Voting (in-person): Our county auditor's office typically is open to allow in-person early voting. There also can be satellite voting locations, usually at the Ames Public Library and on Iowa State University campus.
- Election Day voting (in-person): If you prefer to vote in person on election day, you can find your precinct poll location here. Polls are open from 7am-9pm on election day. Curbside voting is also available as an option for those unable to enter the building. Remember to bring some materials to prove your identity and/or residence, should something fail with your voter registration. You can always register to vote on election day if you have the proper identification and proof of residence.
- If your voting credentials are challenged, you don't have ID, or did not surrender your absentee ballot, then you will need to vote using a provisional ballot. Please note that this process is complex, and should only be used when no other option is available. To prevent anyone from entering this aspect, we recommend you bring the documents needed to prove your ID with you to the polls.
3. What to Expect
- Long lines - Sometimes elections or precinct polling places are very popular. This can result in excessively long lines, so be prepared to wait even hours to vote. Make sure your phone is charged, bring a novel, etc.
- Voter ID - You are required to bring a form of identification to the polls. For most voters, that will be their driver's license or voter ID card, but your passport, tribal ID, veteran's ID, employer ID, and a few others are accepted. Please bring ID & residence proof just in case your identity is challenged.
- Voting booth - you may vote on paper ballots or electronic ballots. If you don't know the candidates in your precinct, you can find a sample ballot here. The Story County GOP will attempt to provide a list of the candidates in partisan races for your perusal.
- Voting tabulation - your ballot is inserted into a tabulation machine that counts your vote, along with most others in your precinct. If you are concerned about voter security, you can view this video. If you would like to poll watch, you can contact us to volunteer.
4. Track your Absentee Ballot:
If you have cast an absentee ballot, you can track if your ballot was requested, sent, or received at your county auditor's office through the absentee ballot tracking system on the Secretary of State's website. Make sure your vote is received!
The election results will not be official until some time after election, as ballots postmarked by election day can be counted if received before the following Monday. Many candidates will choose to concede before results are certified, so you can follow