1. Register:

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, you should be able to mail your ballot (must be postmarked before Nov. 3), 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): Every weekday Oct. 5 to Nov. 2, 8am to 4:30pm, the county auditor's office will be open to allow in-person early voting. The county auditor's office will also be open on Saturday, Oct. 31, and will extend their hours on November 2 to 5pm.  Also on October 31, the Ames Public Library will be open as a satellite location from 9am-4pm.


  • 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 November 3, 2020. Curbside voting is also available as an option for those unable to enter the building. Please know that this is a popular election, and you may be in line for quite some time. Remember to bring some materials to prove your identity and/or residence, should something fail with your voter registration.


  • 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 - This election is very popular, and thus many people are prioritizing getting out to vote. This will result in excessively long lines, so be prepared to wait 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 also provides a list of the 2020 candidates in partisan races for your perusal. Please review them prior to voting so you know what to expect.


  • 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, or you can sign up directly at the Trump campaign's webpage.


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!


5. Results

The election results will not be official until some time after election, as ballots postmarked by November 3 can be counted if received before November 9. However, usually the major news stations carry the unofficial results, reporting as they are released. However, with the COVID-19 crisis, some states may not report data for some time after election.


Additional Resources