Voting Guide for College Students

Are You Registered to Vote?


Damen Khamdaeng

Joceline Medina, Staff Writer

As Election Day approaches, it is of extreme importance that students are registered to vote. For years, voting has granted us the opportunity to let our voices be heard. Due to the unforeseen pandemic, the process of voting is intended to look a little different this year. Currently, students have the choice to vote directly from the comfort of their homes using the mailing system. Nonetheless, the option of voting in-person remains valid. In the case that this is your first voting year, and you are confused about the process, I encourage you to keep reading.   

The Presidential Election takes place every four years. It is always the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. As with any other year, voters have the option to vote via an absentee ballot or in person. To vote in person, you will need to first know the county in which you are registered to vote and contact that County Auditor office to get details on the dates, times, and locations of voting booths.  

To begin the process, you must register to vote. To register in Iowa, you must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of Iowa, and at least seventeen years old— eighteen by election day. Because voter registration is not federally managed, states and territories hold different requirements. In the state of Iowa, you are allowed to register in-person, through paper form, or online. This process takes no more than a few minutes out of your day. The last day to register is October 24, 2020, by 5:00 p.m.  

If you intend to register online, there are two options.  

First, you can fill out the Iowa Electronic Voter Registration on Iowa Dot. In doing so, you will be requested to use your driver’s license or non-operator’s ID in the process. If you do not have a driver’s license or non-operator’s ID, do not be alarmed. By advancing to the Iowa Secretary of State website, you can print the State of Iowa Official Voter Registration Form. Once completed, the final step is to simply take it to the county auditor’s office. 

Following the registration, you can determine your most convenient voting method.  

Iowa is mailing an absentee ballot application to every active registered voter. Once received, voters can follow the instructions on the application to complete their ballot. After its completion, you can mail it to the local election office. The deadline to request a ballot by mail is October 24, 2020, by 5:00 p.m. At the time that your official ballot arrives, follow the same process as previously mentioned.  

According to the Iowa Secretary of State website, “absentee ballots received in the county auditor’s office by the time the polls close on election day are eligible for counting.” “Absentee ballots received after the polls close on election day must be postmarked by the Monday before election day or earlier and received in the county auditor’s office no later than noon on the Monday following the election.” 

In addition, there is the option of voting early this year. Through this process, you can vote in-person or by absentee ballot, starting from October 5 to November 2.  

Ultimately, the traditional, voting in-person on Election Day, remains an option.  

In this process, again, access the Iowa Secretary of State website to search for polling places near you. At arrival, request a ballot from an election worker, sign your name, then fill out the necessary information. Keep in mind that you are required to bring an approved form of id such as an Iowa driver’s license. It is crucial that you arrive before the polls are closed. In the state of Iowa, it is also an option to register to vote at your voting site on the day of elections if you have not already. 

If you are unsure about your options for candidates, access the Ballotpedia website for a list of the candidates and a brief description of each individual. 

For first-time voters, the process might seem intimidating, especially during the pandemic. That is why it is important that you choose the voting method that is most comfortable for you.  

Remember that you have the opportunity to create change, so get out there and vote! 


(Iowa Secretary of State) 


(“Navigating The Election Process For Students and First Time Voters.”)