Absentee Voting by Mail
Registered voters may request an absentee ballot to be sent to them by mail. You must complete an absentee ballot request form and return the original, signed form to your county auditor. The request form does not need to be witnessed or notarized. A written application for a mailed absentee ballot must be received by the voter's County Auditor no later than 5:00 p.m. 10 days before a General Election or 11 days before any other election.
Someone who will be 18 years old by the date of an upcoming election may request an absentee ballot if he or she is pre-registered to vote.
In order to receive an absentee ballot, a registered voter MUST provide the following necessary information:
- Date of birth
- Iowa residential address
Voter Verification Number (ID Number)
- Iowa Driver's License or Non-Operator ID Number OR
- Four digit Voter PIN located on the voter's Iowa Voter ID Card
- Any voter may request an Iowa Voter ID Card by contacting their County Auditor's Office
- The name OR date of the election for which you are requesting an absentee ballot
- Party affiliation - only required for Primary Elections, which are held in even numbered years
For information on how to request an absentee ballot and to download and print a fillable absentee ballot request form, visit Requesting a Ballot.
All voters are encouraged to provide their phone number and/or email address in the event their County Auditor needs to confirm any information on the request form.
If you have questions about absentee voting, please contact your County Auditor.
Request Deadline for Mailed Ballots
The request form must be received in the county auditor's office by 5 p.m. on the Friday, eleven days before the election. If the request is for the general election, the deadline to request a ballot by mail is the Saturday, ten days 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.
Receiving the Ballot
With the ballot, the county auditor will include instructions on how to mark the ballot as well as how to return the ballot.
Returning the Ballot
You can return your voted absentee ballot by mail. Absentee ballots received in the county auditor's office by the time the polls close on election day are eligible for counting. Absentee ballots received after the polls close on election day must be postmarked by the Monday before election day or earlier and received in the county auditor's office no later than noon on the Monday following the election. For school and some city and special elections, the return deadline may be earlier. Read the instructions sent with the ballot.
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, or
- Vote a provisional ballot at the polls if you cannot surrender your voted absentee ballot.