Can I vote before Election Day?

  • Yes. Any registered voter can vote 29 days before Election Day through the day before Election Day by filling out what is called an "absentee ballot." You may then mail it or deliver it in person at your county auditor’s office 29 days before Election Day through the day before Election Day.

How do I get an absentee ballot?

1) Submit an application for an absentee ballot be mailed to you. Get the application at your county auditor’s office, by calling the Secretary of State’s Office at 515-281-5204, or download one by clicking here.

2) The completed application must be received by your county auditor 10 days before Election Day in order to count.

3) You will then be mailed an absentee ballot to fill out and return by mail or hand delivery.

To be counted in the election, your absentee ballot must be postmarked no later than the Monday before Election Day and received in the county auditor’s office no later one week after Election Day. Or you may hand-deliver your absentee ballot to the county auditor’s office anytime before the polls close at 9:00 p.m. on Election Day.

(You can call your county auditor to make sure it was received or check online here.)

What if I make a mistake on my absentee ballot?

  • Do not try to erase or scratch out your answers. Instead, request a replacement ballot.
    • Put the absentee ballot in the return envelope with a note that states clearly that you want a new ballot.
    • Write “spoiled ballot” on the envelope
    • Return the envelope to your county auditor’s office.
  • If you are concerned about meeting a voting deadline, call your county auditor’s office.

I've been hearing about changes in the law regarding early/absentee voting. What's going on?
On August 10, 2018, the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed a temporary injunction blocking some parts of the Voter ID law dealing with early voting. As a result, the following parts of the law are not in effect right now:

  1. Signature matching for absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots themselves
  2. The requirement that absentee ballot applications contain a voter verification number or ID number
  3. Not allowing your county auditor to look up your information in their database if for some reason you don't include all of the relevant information on your absentee ballot application.

What does that mean for voters? 

  1. Your county auditor must count your absentee ballot even if your signature on your absentee ballot application or absentee ballot itself doesn't match the signature on record with your county auditor, 
  2. Your county auditor must send you an absentee ballot even if you don't include a voter verification number or ID number on your absentee ballot application, and
  3. Your county auditor can look up your information in their database if you don't include all of the relevant information on your absentee ballot application.

ACLU of Iowa will update this information if the court issues any additional orders.

If you have more questions, contact your county auditor's office or the Iowa Secretary of State website. 

Current as of August 31, 2018

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