116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Early voting soon will begin for Iowa’s Nov. 2 city and school elections, the first ones to be held under a new state law that shortens early voting and changes the rules for absentee voting, among other things. Here's what you need to know about how to request absentee ballots and return them, how to vote early in person and how to vote on Election Day.
Linn County elections: linncountyelections.org
Johnson County elections: johnsoncountyiowa.gov/auditor/elections
Iowa Secretary of State: sos.iowa.gov/elections/voterinformation
Learn about who is running at thegazette.com/campaigns-elections
Am I registered to vote?
Check your registration: Enter your information on the Secretary of State's site to see if you are registered.
If you need to register: The deadline to register before Election Day is 5 p.m. Oct. 18. Using your Iowa driver’s license or state ID, you can register online via the Iowa Department of Transportation website (iowadot.gov, search for “voter”) or by downloading and mailing a form from the Iowa Secretary of State’s website to your county auditor.
Election Day registration: You can register on Election Day in Iowa at your polling place, but will need an ID and potentially proof of address. More details about qualifying documents are available on the Secretary of State’s site.
How can I vote early in person?
Remember your ID: Voters will be asked to show a driver's license, non-driver's ID, passport, military ID, veterans ID, tribal ID, or Voter ID card before they vote.
In Linn County: Early voting runs from Oct. 13 through Nov. 1, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., near the Linn County Auditor’s Office, 935 Second St. SW, Cedar Rapids.
There also will be satellite voting locations, as requested by public petitions. Locations will be posted at the county auditor’s website.
One satellite spot will be at Lindale Mall, 4444 First Ave. NE, Oct. 13 through Oct. 31. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.
For more information, see the Auditor's Office full list of sites, visit the website at linncountyelections.org, or email elections@LinnCounty.org or call 319-892-5300 Ext. 1.
In Johnson County: Early voting runs Oct. 13 to Nov. 1. Drive-up early voting will be open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the parking ramp north of the Health and Human Services building, 855 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City. Drive-up voting also will be available Oct. 30 and Oct. 31, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There are also seven satellite voting locations:
- Iowa Memorial Union, 125 N. Madison St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 18
- Solon Community High School, 600 W. Fifth St., from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 22
- Kingdom Apostolic Community Worship Center, 611 Southgate Ave., from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 24
- Old Capitol Town Center, 201 S. Clinton St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 26
- North Liberty Community Library, 520 W. Cherry St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 30
- Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., from noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 30 and from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 31
- Coralville Public Library, 1401 Fifth St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 31
Additional satellites may be announced if petitions seeking them are delivered to the auditor’s office by 5 p.m. Monday.
Find more information at the Johnson County auditor's website at johnsoncountyiowa.gov/auditor/elections, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 319-356-6004.
How can I vote by mail?
Under a 2021 state law change, county auditors may no longer directly mail absentee ballot request forms. Voters may request absentee ballots now until 5 p.m. Oct. 18, at which time auditors’ offices must have received the form.
In Linn County, Auditor Joel Miller is distributing request forms through the PennySaver local advertising circular this year instead of directly to voters through the mail, since that is now prohibited.
As of Monday morning, Miller said his office had received 448 absentee ballot request forms. The office had received 204 via the PennySaver ad. Of the PennySaver forms received, Miller said about half the people requesting them had voted absentee in the 2019 city and school election.
“I’m trying to continue my practice of making voting as easy as possible and as convenient as possible,” Miller said. “However, there are new election laws in effect which make it impossible for me to do some of the things I’ve done in the past.”
In Johnson County, the auditor’s office had processed about 150 requests as of Monday.
Absentee ballots will begin to be sent out Oct. 13 to those who requested them, and can be returned by mail or dropped off at the auditor’s office. All mailed absentee ballots must arrive at the auditor’s office before the polls close on Election Day in order to be counted.
Both Linn and Johnson counties will have drop boxes outside their auditors’ offices to collect absentee ballots once early voting begins. These will be available 24/7 and under video surveillance.
“If you already have requested an absentee ballot and filled it out, all you need to do is drop it off,” Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert said. “You don't have to wait in the drive-through voting lane. There will be a separate area where you just drive there and drop it off.”
Miller said the drop box is a good option for those who want to ensure their ballot arrives on time as changes come to the U.S. Postal Service, slowing some mail deliveries.
“If they want to limit their contact with people again during this pandemic, then please take advantage of ways to avoid … having in-person contact while at the same time exercising the right to vote,” Miller said.
To request a ballot: Contact your auditor's office if you’d like an absentee ballot mailed to you or print out the request form online and return it to the auditor’s office.
• Linn County: Visit the auditor’s website for details, or email email@example.com or call 319-892-5300 Ext. 1.
• Johnson County: Visit the county auditor’s website for details, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 319-356-6004.
Only the voter, someone in the household, an immediate family member or a designated “delivery agent” may return ballots. The Linn County Auditor’s Office website has a document containing further information about this rule, part of the 2021 state law change, from the Iowa State Association of County Auditors.
Track your ballot: Visit bit.ly/TrackMyAbsentee to learn when your absentee ballot request was received, when your ballot is mailed and when the auditor's office receives your returned ballot.
What should I do if I want to change the way I vote?
Some voters may request an absentee ballot but then decide to vote at the polls on Election Day instead. Here is what to do if you are one of them:
On Election Day, if you haven't sent in your absentee ballot: Take your absentee ballot with you to your polling place and surrender it to the poll workers. They will call the auditor's office to void out your absentee ballot request. You will then vote a regular ballot.
If the auditor's office already received your absentee ballot: You will vote a provisional ballot. This ballot will be counted only if your mailed absentee ballot gets rejected. If your absentee ballot is accepted, your provisional will be rejected.
Other voters who intended to vote by mail may change their minds and decide to vote early in person instead. Here is what to do if that applies to you:
If you have received your ballot, fill it out and drop it off at the auditor's office drop box starting Oct. 13.
If you have not received your ballot, you can go to the auditor’s office and vote a ballot. The office will have to void your original absentee request, so if you receive your original ballot in the mail, return it to the office unvoted and it will be shredded.
How can I vote on Election Day, Nov. 2?
What you need: Voters must show a driver's license, non-driver's ID, passport, military ID, veterans ID, tribal ID, or Voter ID card before they vote. Those who need a Voter ID card may contact their county auditor’s office.
Hours: Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Where do I vote? Voters must go to a designated precinct to vote on Election Day. Check with your county auditor for details or use these lookup tools:
• Linn County: Find your polling place by following the steps in the county's lookup tool using your address.
• Johnson County: Voters can use the lookup tool on the county auditor’s website to find their polling place.
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