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League of Women Voters

Iowa Absentee Ballot Process

Applications for absentee ballots can be obtained online in a PDF format, or mailed upon request from the Secretary of State. You can also request a ballot by mailing the application to the county auditor/commissioner of elections in the county where you are registered.

The request form must be received in the county auditor's office by 5 pm on the Friday before the election. If the request is received so late that it is unlikely the absentee ballot can be returned by mail in time to be considered for counting, the county auditor will enclose a statement to that effect with the absentee ballot.

After receiving the request form, the county auditor will mail the voter a ballot. For primary and general elections, the ballots are mailed no later than 40 days before election day. For other elections, ballots are mailed to voters as soon as they are ready. The county auditor will include instructions on how to mark the ballot as well as how to return the ballot.

You can return your voted absentee ballot by mail. The ballot must be postmarked by the Monday before election day or earlier and received in the county auditor's office no later than the Monday following the election. Voted absentee ballots cannot be delivered to the polling place on election day. If you have not returned your absentee ballot on election day, you have the following options:

  • Deliver your voted absentee ballot to the county auditor's office before the polls close on election day
  • Surrender your voted absentee ballot at the polls and vote a regular ballot
  • Vote a provisional ballot at the polls if you cannot surrender your voted absentee ballot

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