Why Should I Care?

Iowa is always a big-deal swing state. And this year, it could help decide which party runs the Senate. And could help decide the 2016 presidential election. Because it's special.

Who Do I Need to Know?

Rep. Bruce Braley (D): An Iowa Congressman with big name Dems like Michelle O. backing him. He's made some unfortunate foot-in-mouth comments including calling popular Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) a "farmer from Iowa who never went to law school." Dissing Iowa farmers in Iowa? Not the move. He'll be hearing about it til the cows come home.

Joni Ernst(R): State Senator and GOP It Girl. Some Dems have compared her to Sarah Palin. Gotcha. Ernst doesn't hold back and has some strong, sometimes extreme, opinions. She says she'll be able to cut spending in DC because she "grew up castrating hogs." True story.

What Are the Issues?

Minimum Wage: Ernst recently said that having a federal minimum wage is "ridiculous" and $7.25 is a great "starter wage for many high school students." Braley said that is an example of her true 'tea-party-extremist' roots talking. Retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D), whose seat they’re running for, is also a big fan of hiking up the minimum wage.

Environment: Iowa's corny—ethanol production is a huge part of the state's economy. Braley has leaned on the Obama Administration to protect a rule that requires a certain amount of ethanol (read: corn) to be in fuel. Braley says this rule created thousands of Iowa jobs. Republicans are crying 'politics!' at the cost of good fuel policy.

I'm from Iowa. What Do I Need to Know About Voting?

October 25th is your deadline to register to vote. Print this, fill it out, and mail it to your county auditor's office. Snail-mail. Deal with it.

October 31st is your deadline to request an absentee ballot if you're going to be out of state on Election Day. Download this and fill it out, then send it to your county auditor.

November 4th is Election Day. Get it done before (or after) Happy Hour—voting closes at 9 p.m. local time.


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