DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowans will begin receiving absentee ballot request forms from the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office this weekend. Secretary of State Paul Pate is sending the forms statewide to active registered voters ahead of the November general election to encourage social distancing at polling places during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Iowans have options about how they choose to cast their vote,” Pate said. “You can vote from home, you can vote in-person at your county auditor’s office, or at the polls on Election Day. The key is we want every eligible Iowan to participate and to be safe while voting.”

The forms include pre-paid, first class mail postage and an envelope to return the request form to the voter’s county auditor. Secretary Pate’s statewide mailing of absentee ballot request forms in the June primary resulted in record-high voter participation of more than 530,000 Iowans.  

Many voters have already received absentee request forms for the November general election from county auditors, political parties and other groups. You only need to send in one form, unless you returned a mailing sent by your county auditor in Linn and Woodbury counties. Judicial rulings have invalidated forms that were pre-filled by those auditors. A hearing on a similar mailing sent by the Johnson County auditor is scheduled for Wednesday, September 9.

“For those voters in Linn and Woodbury counties, if you returned a pre-filled absentee request form from your county auditor, I encourage you to fill out this official form and return it,” Pate said. “Unfortunately, we had a few county auditors who made reckless decisions that have confused voters and possibly disenfranchised them. This mailing from my office will help ensure those Iowans receive ballots and are able to vote.”

The mailing from the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office includes information about how to vote absentee or on Election Day. County auditors will begin mailing ballots on October 5. Ballot request forms must be received no later than Saturday, October 24 at 5 p.m. Iowans can track that status of their absentee ballot at this link.

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