Early Voting Begins Today in Iowa

(Radio Iowa) Early voting begins today (Wednesday) in Iowa for this year’s General Election. Iowans may vote in-person at their county auditor’s office or the election office in their county. This is also the first day county auditors can mail an absentee ballot to a voter who requested one. In order to be counted, your county auditor must RECEIVE that ballot by 8 p.m. on November 8th. Secretary of State Paul Pate says don’t depend on overnight delivery by the U.S. Postal Service.

“Allow for at least five days, conservatively, and you’ve got well over a million homeowners mailboxes and we’ve got another 4000 ‘blue’ (USPS) boxes to utilize,” Pate says. “County auditors usually have a dropbox as well.” Dropboxes must be inside or directly outside the county auditor’s office. Iowans can track the progress of their absentee ballot online. The address is www.voterready.Iowa.gov.

“I highly encourage that for anybody who’s voting through the mail, the absentee process. I think it gives you a better feeling of security that, ‘Yep, it got there,’ and so you can also check to find out where your ballot is at,” Pate says. “If you’re requesting one and wonder why you haven’t gotten it yet, you can see if they got your request. It’s, I think, a very good tool for folks to look at and use.” The most common mistake voters make on a mail-in ballot is they forget to sign and date the envelope.
Next Monday, October 24th, is the last day you may ask your county auditor to mail an absentee ballot to a voter.

“If they have questions, we always encourage them to go to www.voterready.iowa.gov, or to call their county auditor,” Pate says, “just to make sure they’re successful.” Early voting has been underway in the neighboring states of Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota and more than a dozen other states. By Tuesday morning, 153-thousand Iowans had submitted a request for an absentee ballot and Pate is repeating that reminder about a new deadline for absentee ballots.

“We want to make sure you know it needs to be in the possession of the county auditor on November 8th,” Pate says. Voters do not have to mail absentee ballots. They may be hand-delivered to their county auditor’s office. A voter’s relatives or guardian may assist in returning an absentee ballot. Under a new state law, anyone else could be charged with a crime if they collect or deliver an absentee ballot from a voter with whom they have no legal or family relationship.