NEW ELECTION LAWS
The 2021 Iowa General Assembly passed significant changes in election law, including a reduction in the time during which to vote by mail and in person. These changes are summarized here.
PLEASE REVIEW THESE LAW CHANGES CLOSELY. They may require changes from how you have voted in the past.
2021 Election Law Changes for Iowa Voters, published by the Iowa State Association of County Auditors
NEW IOWA ELECTION LAW Q & A
Q: When do the polls close for the General Election?
A: The polls close at 8:00 pm for ALL elections.
Q: How many days before an election do I need to register to vote if I’m not registered or if I moved, and I want my name to be on the voter register at the polls?
A: 15 days before election day.
Q: May I still register to vote at the polls?
A: Yes. You will need both proof of identity (which everyone needs) AND proof of residence
Q: Will the county auditor send absentee ballot request forms to all voters in the county?A: No. State law now prohibits this. If you personally request an absentee ballot request form, your auditor will send you one.
Q: Will the Secretary of State’s Office send absentee ballot request forms to all voters in the state?A: No, unless directed to do so by the state legislature during a public health disaster.
Q: Will ANYONE do large mailings of absentee ballot request forms to voters?A: Probably, at least for General Elections. Political parties and other private organizations are not prohibited from sending them out.
Q: When is the first day that I may request an absentee ballot by mail?
A: 70 days before the election.
Q: After I send in my absentee ballot request form, when will the county auditor mail me my ballot?
A: The auditor will start mailing absentee ballots 20 days before the election.
Q: When is the first day I can vote absentee in person at the Auditor’s Office?
A: 20 days before the election. You should only vote at the office if you have not requested a ballot by mail.
Q: When is the last day that I can request an absentee ballot by mail?
A: The county auditor must receive your request form at least 15 days before the election. (For exceptions, see below.)
Q: What is the deadline for getting my absentee ballot back to the county auditor?
A: The county auditor must have your ballot by the close of the polls, which is 8:00 pm on election day.
Q: Won’t my ballot be counted as long as it is postmarked before election day?
A: NO. The law changed, and your ballot must be in the possession of the county auditor by 8:00 pm on election day.
Q: When is the last day to vote an absentee ballot in person at the auditor’s office?
A: The day before the election. (This didn’t change.)
Q: May I return someone else’s absentee ballot, or may someone else return my absentee ballot?
A: The only people who may return a voter’s absentee ballot (we’re talking about the BALLOT, NOT the ballot REQUEST FORM) are the voter, someone living in the voter’s household, an immediate family member, or, if the voter is blind or has another disability, a special delivery agent. (For exceptions and details, see below.)
For exceptions, details, and more law changes, click here for the 2021 Election Law Changes for Iowa Voters, published by the Iowa State Association of County Auditors.
For the Secretary of State's new absentee voting instructions, including the Designation of Delivery Agent Form, click here.