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How To Vote In The June 2 Primary

Natalie Krebs
Iowa Public Radio
In this February 4, 2020 photo, an individual prepares to caucus.

A primary election on June 2 will determine who runs against Republican Sen. Joni Ernst for one of Iowa's U.S. Senate seats. There are also primaries in each of Iowa's four congressional districts, as well as in many state legislative districts.


Due to concerns about COVID-19, Secretary of State Paul Pate has made adjustments to this year’s voting process. 



How do I register to vote? How do I update my registration?

To vote in the primary, you must be registered as a member for either the Democratic or Republican parties. You can do this by checking your party’s box on your absentee ballot request form or by marking it on your voter registration.

If you have a driver’s license, you can register online.


If you do not have a driver’s license, you will have to get a voter ID card by mail. You can fill out this form here.


Where do I go to vote?

It may not be convenient to vote in person. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many counties are combining their voting sites in order to protect their polling staff and maintain social distancing. Pate is encouraging people to vote by mail instead of waiting in line at the polling locations.

To vote from home, you can print out and submit an absentee ballot request form. Alternatively, double-check your mail. You may have received a form from Iowa’s Secretary of State office. Note that this form is only to request the ballot, which you will receive later. The request form must be received by your county Auditor by May 22 at 5 p.m. We recommend returning it by May 18 to be safe.


Please note, polling location information may change frequently in the next month. If you’d still like to vote in person, you can search for your polling location here. Some sites may offer curbside voting. We encourage you to visit the site close to June 2 to confirm nothing has changed. If you are uncertain whether you'll have a polling site option, please consider the absentee voting option noted above. 


Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on June 2. 


If you’re currently hospitalized or live in a health care facility, you can find special guidelines here.


What about the curfews in Polk and Scott counties?

Polk and Scott counties have each set curfews starting at 9 p.m. following protests set off by the death of George Floyd. That’s also when polls are scheduled to close. 

Polk County auditor Jamie Fitzgerald says travel during the curfew will be allowed for voting. “We want to make sure voters don’t get confused and say, “Oh my gosh it’s 8:45 p.m., I can’t vote.” We want you to vote. We want you to vote safely and then we want you to go home.”

Many counties have also consolidated polling places as a precaution against COVID-19. Fitzgerald says there will be only 28 voting sites in Polk County instead of the usual 135.  

Why should I vote absentee?

Though Gov. Kim Reynolds has reopened many parts of the state, health officials still recommend avoiding large gatherings. Polling sites are likely to have larger gatherings of people, and maintaining proper social distancing could be difficult. 

If you vote early, you can mail in your ballot and be worryless come June 2. Voting from home will also allow you to research the candidates while looking through your ballots. 

Where can I learn more about the candidates?

You can find the primary candidates for both the Republican and Democratic party on the Secretary of State’s website. Here's a list of their names.

There is primary voting for the following offices:

  • United States Senator
  • United States Representatives (Districts 1 - 4)
  • State Senators (Even-numbered districts)
  • State Representatives (All districts)
Will things be different for the November general election?

As we've seen in the past several weeks, there is a lot of fluidity required around decision-making right now, so it's difficult to say what the circumstances might be for voting in November.

Pate is still considering holding a 100 percent vote-by-mail election, though no decision has been made. 

In terms of absentee voting, Iowa does not allow permanent absentee status for voters. So if you want to vote-by-mail again, you’ll have to fill out another request form to vote absentee for the general election. 

Editors: This story has been corrected to reflect the correct time the polls will be open. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., not 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.