Voters in Iowa head to the polls on Tuesday with an important decision to make, particularly important considering how influential Iowa is on who becomes the next president. But equally as important is what’s listed further down the ballot, the federal and states officers voters must consider as well. There’s a senate race between Chuck Grassley and Patty Judge, as well as a congressional race between Steve King and Kim Weaver.
Here’s what you need to know as you head to the polls this year.
POLLING HOURS & LOCATIONS: Polls in Iowa are open from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. As long as you’re in line by 9:00 p.m., though, you’ll be able to vote. Not sure where you need to go to vote? Just use this voter registration lookup tool from the Iowa Secretary of State’s website, entering your website to see where you’ll be casting your ballot.
REGISTRATION GUIDELINES: Iowa is one of 16 states that allows you to register to vote on Election Day, so you’ll be able to cast a ballot on November 8th even if you’re not currently registered. You register at your polling place, which you can find by entering your zip code on this page. But you’ll need a few things in order to register, namely some way of showing to the state who you are or where you live. The simplest way of doing so is to bring your driver’s license, but if you don’t have one, you can also use an Iowa non-driver ID card, an out-of-state driver’s license or non-driver ID card, a U.S. passport, a U.S. military ID, a ID card issued by employer, or a student ID issued by an Iowa high school or college. Make sure whatever ID you bring has your current address on it. If it doesn’t, you can bring one of the following documents to show where you live: a residential lease, a utility bill (including a cell phone bill), a bank statement, a paycheck or a government check, or any other government document. Finally, if you can’t provide what the state requests above, you can have a registered voter attest for you. In this case, both you and the person attesting for you sign an oath swearing that the statements you are making are true; falsely attesting or being attested is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison.
TRACKING RESULTS: You can see the Iowa election results as they come in on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website.
WHAT’S AT STAKE IN FEDERAL RACES: The Iowa race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is one of the biggest unknowns heading into Election Day. Clinton and Trump are neck and neck in the polls, with Trump having a very slight lead. Individual voters in deep red or deep blue states like Oklahoma or California don’t really have much say in the presidential election, but a few Iowans really could help decide who becomes the next president. Barack Obama won Iowa in 2012 and 2008, but before that, George W. Bush carried the state in 2004. In 2000, Al Gore won Iowa’s electoral votes. Meanwhile, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is seeking his seventh term, being challenged by Democrat Patty Judge, the state’s former Lieutenant Governor. Grassley is widely expected to win this race. Plus, all four of Iowa’s House representatives are up for reelection.
- In the first district, Democratic Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman Monica Vernon is challenging Republican Rep. Rod Blum
- In the second district, Republican Christopher Peters, a doctor and small business owner, is challenging Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack
- In the third district, Democratic businessman Jim Mowrer is challenging Republican Rep. David Young. Also in the race is Libertarian Bryan Holder and Independent candidates Claudia Addy and Joe Grandanette.
- In the fourth district, O’Brien County Democratic Party Chair Kim Weaver is challenging Republican Rep. Steve King
WHAT’S AT STAKE IN THE STATE RACES: The governor’s race is not until 2018, but in the Iowa senate, 25 out of the chamber’s 50 seats are up for election. At the moment, the Democrats have a very slight majority in the state’s senate, with 25 Democrats in the chamber compared to 23 Republicans. All 100 seats of the Iowa House of Representatives are also up for election. The Republicans hold the majority in this chamber, with 57 Republicans and 43 Democrats in the chamber. There are also seven state judges, and 59 district judges, up for retention; this means that the judges do not have an opponent, but voters simply decide whether or not to keep them in their position. Click here for a map of Senate districts, and here for a map of House districts.
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