Absentee Ballot Information
Ballots are available 20 days before the election. If the Auditor's Office receives your request more than 20 days before the election it will file the request in its office and mail you a ballot when the ballots are available. The first day to file a request is 70 days before the election.
The auditor will mail you a ballot within 24 hours of receiving your request form or within 24 hours of when the ballots are available. Individuals acting as representatives of a political party, candidate or committee may solicit and collect absentee ballot request forms from voters. An individual acting in this capacity must use the official absentee ballot request form with receipt prescribed by the Iowa Secretary of State's Office.
Rules & Guidelines
- The auditor must receive the absentee ballot request form that includes the applicant’s original signature and the date signed.
- Absentee ballot request forms must be received at least 15 days before the election or the ballot will not be mailed to the voter.
- County auditors may send absentee ballot request forms only to voters who request them.
- The only people who may return a voted absentee ballot other than the voter are:
- Someone living in the voter's household.
- An immediate family member.
- The two special precinct election officials who deliver a ballot to the resident of a health care facility, dementia-specific assisted living program, or hospital.
- Voters unable to return a ballot due to blindness or other disability may use a "delivery agent" to deliver their ballots. See below.*
- Absentee ballots may be returned via US Mail, designated ballot drop boxes (unless returned by a "delivery agent"*), which if available must be located on the grounds of or within the building where the county auditor conducts in-person absentee voting. (Auditors are not required to provide drop boxes.)
*RETURNING ABSENTEE BALLOTS - DISABILITY EXCEPTION - DELIVERY AGENTS: In the case of a voter unable to return a ballot due to blindness or other disability, the voter may ask a "delivery agent" to deliver their ballot.
- A delivery agent is an Iowa registered voter who cannot be the voter's employer or an agent of the employer, an officer or agent of the voter's union, or an actual or implied agent for a political party, candidate or committee.
- If a voter with a disability designates a delivery agent, the voter must complete and sign a designation form prescribed by the Secretary of State. Get form here.
- A delivery agent shall return no more than two absentee ballots per election.
- The delivery agent shall fill out a receipt in a form prescribed by the Secretary of State and shall leave it with the voter. (It is part of the form completed by the voter above, also found here.)
- The delivery agent shall collect the voter's designation form at the same time as collecting the ballot, and shall deliver the ballot and designation form to the county auditor at the same time.
The delivery agent must:
- Deliver the ballot in person to the county auditor, not by mail or drop box.
- Provide to the county auditor the same identification as a voter at the polls.
- Provide, on a form prescribed by the Secretary of State, the following:
- Full legal name
- Residential address
- Phone number
- Email address, if applicable
- Sign a statement (prescribed in the law) certifying under penalty of perjury that the delivery agent has complied with the law. (This form is part of the form completed by the voter above, also found here.)
If you have questions regarding the information provided on this document, please call the Iowa Secretary of State’s office at 888-SOS-Vote (1-888-767-8683) or your County Auditor.