Look for Your Iowa Absentee Ballot Request Form
Civil Rights Forum
Absentee Ballot Voting in Iowa for June Primary Election
On March 31st, the Des Moines Register reported that, due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office will mail every registered voter in Iowa an absentee ballot request form before the state’s June 2nd primary. The State is encouraging voters to consider voting by mail so that the virus will not be spread among polling site workers and residents. In addition, the early voting period for mail-in ballots has been extended.
To further clarify this information, I spoke to Roxanna Moritz, the Scott County Iowa Auditor and Commissioner of Elections, this week. She emphasizes that every active voter in the state will receive an absentee ballot request. If you have not received your form by May 5th, contact your county auditor’s office to request one (see phone numbers below).
Iowa's June 2 primary is scheduled to go forward as planned, but Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is encouraging Iowans to vote by mail to reduce the spread of the virus. Last week, Pate extended the early voting period for mailed ballots to 40 days, up from 29. That means Iowans will be able to cast mailed ballots beginning on April 23.
"The safety of voters while casting their ballots is our top priority," Pate said in a news release. "The June 2 primary election will go on as scheduled because it’s important for Iowans to make their voices heard by voting. The safest way to vote will be by mail."
Iowans who receive the request forms will need to return them to their county auditor in order to receive an actual absentee ballot. When the time comes, voters will have to fill out and mail back their ballots.
The ballot request form requires Iowans to fill out information like their name, date of birth and address, an ID number, and whether they want to vote in a Democratic or Republican primary.
"We don’t just blindly mail out ballots to people who don’t request them. That’s like mailing out blank checks. There have to be security provisions in place to ensure the integrity of the vote," said Kevin Hall, a spokesperson for the secretary of state's office.
Iowa's primary will feature competitive races for federal and state legislative offices. At the federal level, Democrats will choose a nominee to face off against Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst. Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King also faces several challengers in the 4th Congressional District primary. – Des Moines Register, March 31st
Moritz expressed her concerns regarding moving to all mail-in voting by November to the Cedar Rapids Gazette:
As much as she prefers an all-mail primary, Scott County Scott County Auditor Roxanna Moritz doesn’t think there is time to pull it off correctly. “We want to move to a vote-by-mail state, but do it right,” Moritz said. “There are so many things to address and doing it in a hurried fashion and making any mistakes could give cause as to why not do vote-by-mail.”
She’s not sure it would even be possible to make the changes needed to conduct the Nov. 3 general election by mail.
Another challenge may be staffing those polling places. Many poll workers come from the ranks of older Iowans, so Pate has made a poll worker recruitment push to encourage people not in COVID-19 high-risk categories to step up.
So far, auditors report that only a few poll working stalwarts have bowed out of the primary…
Eligible Iowans who have not registered to vote or updated their registration have until May 22 to preregister to ensure the absentee ballot request form goes to the correct address. For information on Election Day registration, visit the Iowa Secretary of State’s website.
Ms. Moritz is readily available to answer questions for her constituents at email@example.com. She also keeps her Facebook page current with pertinent voting information and is available through her personal cell phone at 563-370-3915. She expressed her concern about making sure that residents get correct information about voting during this unusual time.
Iowa County Auditors' Offices:
Clinton County - 563-244-0568
Muscatine County - 563-263-5821
Scott County - 563-326-VOTE
Request an absentee ballot here and mail it to your county auditor.
Iowans can check to see if they are registered to vote here.
Download and print off a State of Iowa Official Voter Registration form. Mail your registration to your County Auditor’s office. Use this link to find the address of your County Auditor. You may also register to vote online.
Contact the PACG Webmaster with questions.