Clayton County, Iowa

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Registering To Vote

Who can register to vote?

U.S. citizens who reside in Clayton County are eligible to register to vote in the county. You may register at age 17 ½, but you must be 18 years old to vote.

How do I register to vote?

You may register to vote by mail by completing a voter registration application and returning it by mail or in person to our office.  You may also register to vote in person at the Auditor's Office during business hours, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  After you register to vote, you will receive a voter card by mail which lists your precinct, polling place, and legislative districts. You do not need this card in order to vote.  If your card is misplaced, new cards are available at no charge.  By law cards must be mailed; please allow up to two weeks for delivery.  If you need proof of your voter registration sooner, you may request a certified copy of your registration in person at our office.  You can also utilize Electronic Voter Registration.

How do I change my address or re-register?

If you move within Clayton County or would like to change any other registration information, you may change your registration by mail.  Enter the changes on the reverse side of your voter card or complete a new voter registration application and mail it to the Auditor's Office. You may also change your registration in person at the Auditor's Office during business hours, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If you are already registered in Clayton County and have moved within the county, you may change your address when voting absentee or at the polls on Election Day.  To change your address on Election Day, go to your new polling place and bring a photo ID (one with your old address is okay).  You'll save time on Election Day if you update your registration ahead of time.

If you move from Clayton County to another county or state, you must re-register in your new county of residence.  When you re-register, indicate on your application that you were previously registered in Clayton County, Iowa, so officials in your new community can notify us to remove your name from our rolls.

When can I register to vote?

There is no waiting period to be eligible to register to vote. If you move, you may register to vote as soon as you move into your new home.  On April 3, 2007, Governor Culver signed House File 653, which allows voters to register and vote on Election Day.  This law took effect January 1, 2008.  There is still a voter registration deadline of ten days before primary and general elections and eleven days before all other elections, but you can still register after the deadline using the Election Day Registration procedure.  However, this procedure has more requirements than registering before the deadline.  

What do I need to bring with me to register to vote?

If you are registering in person, no documents are required.  If you are registering by mail and do not have either an Iowa driver's license number or a Social Security number, some documentation is needed.

What do I need to know when I register?

You will need to know your name, residence address, and birth date.  You are also required to provide your driver's license number (Iowa licenses only) or the last four digits of your Social Security number (if you don't have a driver's license or if your license is from another state).  If you do not have either of these numbers, there are other identification options.  You will be asked for your telephone number, e-mail address and party preference; however, these are not required.  It also helps to know the last place you were registered to vote (if any) so we can notify voter registration officials there.

If I have changed my name, must I register and vote under my new name?

To avoid delays at the polls, you should re-register when you change your name. If you do not, you may update your name at the polls on Election Day.

Do I have to register before each election?

Only if you have moved to a new address or changed your name.

Will I remain registered even if I don't vote in every election?

You cannot be removed from the voter rolls simply for not voting. In order to cancel someone from our rolls entirely, we must receive official notice that the voter has moved, registered elsewhere, died, or been convicted of a felony.  To remain actively registered, you must be able to receive mail at your address. If mail is returned to our office by the Postal Service, you are placed on an "inactive" status. Your registration cannot be completely cancelled until you been on inactive status through two general elections.

Who can register voters?

Any person may assist another in completion of a voter registration application.

Can I register to vote by mail?

Yes.  Applications are available at our office and online.

Can I update my information on the phone or online?

No, Iowa law requires your signature.

Where do I send my voter registration application after I fill it out?

If you are a resident of Clayton County, send it to our office:

Clayton County Auditor's Office
Attn: Elections
PO Box 416
Elkader, IA 52043-0416

If you are not a Clayton County resident, our office can tell you where to send your registration.

Can I register to vote if I have a Green Card?

No. You must be a United States citizen to register to vote.

Can an ex-felon register and vote?

On July 4, 2005, Governor Vilsack restored voting rights to ex-felons who had completed their sentences through that date.  Since that date, the Department of Corrections has sent the governor a monthly list of people who have discharged their sentences (including probation, parole, or supervised release). The Governor then must consider these individuals for a restoration of citizenship rights. If granted, a restoration of citizenship certificate will be issued to the offender’s last known address.

More on Restoration of Rights, including application forms (Governor's web site)

Can anyone obtain access to the registration list?  What if I don't want my address released?

Our office is required by state law to allow voter lists to be released for political purposes.  Use of the voter list for commercial purposes, such as debt collection or sales, is a serious misdemeanor (Code of Iowa, Section 48A.39).  Anyone purchasing a voter list must fill out a form identifying themselves and their specific purpose (such as the name of a political organization or campaign).  Iowa law does not allow voters to exclude themselves from such lists, and political organizations are exempt from most provisions of the national do-not-call law.

Does registering to vote mean I'll get jury duty?

You may be called for jury duty even if you are not registered to vote, since jury lists are compiled from motor vehicle, driver's license, and utility records in addition to voter registration lists.  For more information about jury duty contact the Clayton County Clerk of Court, (563) 245-2204.

Can a change be made in my registration without my knowledge?

No, every time your information changes you should receive a new voter card.  This includes records updated in our annual update of addresses from the Postal Service (NCOA).

I just registered and got my voter card, but there's a mistake on it.

Your card includes an area for corrections.  Make any corrections or changes you need to, sign the card, and send it back.  Within two weeks, you should receive another new card with the corrected information.

I thought I was registered with one party but my card says I'm registered with another one.

You may have voted in a primary election or attended a caucus and changed your party affiliation at that time.  If you wish to make any changes or corrections, you can make those on your voter card and send it back. We'll then send you a new one within two weeks.

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