Can I vote before Election Day?

  • Yes. Any registered voter can vote Monday, October 5 through Election Day by casting an “absentee ballot.” You can mail it in or deliver it to your county auditor’s office.

How do I get an absentee ballot?

  1. First, you have to ask for a ballot. This must be done by completing a request form. One or several might be mailed to you, for your convenience.
    • You can also call or email your county auditor or download the request form here.
    • Requests for absentee ballot request forms must be received by your local county auditor by Saturday, October 24.
  2. The county auditor will then mail you an actual ballot. Follow the instructions exactly. (Be sure to sign the "Voter Affidavit" section on the outside of the envelope!) 
  3. After you have completed the ballot, you need to get it to your county auditor’s office. Some options:
    • Mail it as instructed. Try to mail it in plenty of time. It must be postmarked no later than Monday, November 2.
    • Drop your ballot off at the county auditor’s office any time before 9:00 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3. Many have set up ballot boxes in front of their building for contact-free drop-off.
    • 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 postmarked no later than Monday, November 2, and received in the county auditor’s office no later than noon one week after Election Day. (You can call your county auditor to make sure it was received or check online).
  • You may hand-deliver your voted absentee ballot to the county auditor’s office anytime before the polls close at 9:00 p.m. on Election Day.

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 for some reason your ballot was rejected, the county auditor's office is required by state law to contact you so you have a chance to correct the problem, such as a missing signature or ID information.

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

Download a half-page handout on how to vote by mail here.

download a ONE-PAGE handout on how to vote by mail here.

Current as of September 2020