Can I vote before Election Day?

  • Yes. Any registered voter can vote during the 20-day period before Election Day by casting an “absentee ballot” by mail or in person at your county auditor’s office.

How do I get an absentee ballot?

  1. Submit an application for an absentee ballot to 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 15 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. Want to make sure your ballot was received? Call or email your county auditor or track it online.

What's the deadline for returning my absentee ballot?

  • To be counted, your absentee ballot must be received in the county auditor’s office no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. (You can call your county auditor to make sure it was received or check online).
  • Or you can take your absentee ballot to your polling place and "surrender" it there. You can then vote in-person instead. 

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 you made an error and would like a new ballot. Write “spoiled ballot” on the envelope and mail it to your county auditor as directed.
  • If you’re concerned about any voting deadlines, call or email your county auditor.
  • You can also take your ballot to the polls on Election Day and turn it into the poll workers and tell them what the problem is. They’ll then take the problem ballot so it is not counted and you can vote in a voting booth instead.

How can I know if my ballot was received and counted? 

  • You can track the progress of your ballot online to make sure it was received by the county auditor's office, here. It does not, however, track if your ballot was processed or rejected. 
  • If your ballot is rejected because you neglected to sign it, and the county auditor's office receives it soon enough, they'll call you. 

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

Current as of September 2021