Current as of June 2022
Voting Early or by Mail in Iowa
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.
If you vote early at the auditor's office, you don't need to worry about the tight deadlines for requesting a ballot, receiving the ballot, and then getting the ballot back to the county auditor's office. If your absentee ballot gets to the county auditor later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, it will not be counted.
If you choose to vote with an absentee ballot via mail, make your request for the ballot as soon as possible and then mail or deliver your ballot to the county auditor's office as soon as possible.
How do I vote with an absentee ballot?
First, you have to ask for a ballot. This must be done by completing a request form. You can get a request form by calling or emailing your county auditor or downloading the request form by clicking here. The request form must arrive at your local county auditor’s office by 5:00 p.m. 15 days before Election Day.
The county auditor will then mail you an actual ballot. Follow the instructions exactly.
After you have completed the ballot, you need to get it to your county auditor’s office. Some options:
Mail it as instructed. Mail it in plenty of time—we strongly recommend at least one week before Election Day. Your ballot must be received no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day or it won’t count.
Drop your ballot off at the county auditor’s office any time BEFORE Election Day. Some county auditors have drop boxes you can use. If you still have your absentee ballot on Election Day, do not simply drop it off. Instead, you must trade it in for a regular ballot at the auditor’s office or your polling place. Most absentee ballots must be returned either by the voter, or by someone living in the voter’s household or an immediate family. However, there are exceptions for people in hospitals or health care facilities, and for people with certain disabilities. Your ballot should include more details for returning it. Contact your county auditor with any questions.
Want to make sure your ballot was received? Call or remail your county auditor or track it online.
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. Bring your ID with you.