Iowa absentee and mail ballot guide
Iowa absentee ballot overview
Absentee ballots and mail ballots are the same thing, and the process for getting one is straight forward.
- Request your ballot by the deadline
- Receive your in ballot in the mail
- Return your ballot by the deadline
Iowa absentee deadlines
- Earliest day to apply: 70 days before Election Day
- Request deadline (online): N/A
- Request deadline (by mail): Received by 15 days before Election Day
- Request deadline (in person): 15 days before Election Day
- Deadline to return your ballot (by mail): Received by Election Day
- Deadline to return your ballot (in person): Received by Election Day
Iowa absentee ballot rules
Any registered Iowa voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.
Iowa online ballot request
Iowa does not allow you to request your ballot online.
Iowa by-mail ballot request
- Download the Iowa absentee ballot application.
- Fill out all of the required fields.
- Print the application.
- Sign and date your application. This is very important.
- Mail or hand-deliver your completed application directly to your local election office as soon as possible, but no later than the deadline.
- If it’s close to the deadline, call your local election office and see if they will let you submit your application via email or fax.
- Your application must be received by 15 days before Election Day.
Iowa in-person ballot request
- Visit your local election office.
- Ask the clerk to give you an absentee ballot application.
- Fill out all of the required fields.
- Sign and date your application.
- The deadline to apply in person is 15 days before Election Day.
After you receive your ballot
- Carefully read and follow the instructions, and fill out all required fields.
- Sign and date the outside envelope.
- Mail or hand-deliver your ballot to your local election office. You can also hand-deliver your ballot to a drop box if one is available nearby. You can use our Find Out Where To Vote tool to find an official drop box.
- If you mail your ballot, it must be received by Election Day.
- If you hand-deliver your ballot, it must be received by Election Day.
- If you miss the deadline – or forget to sign the outside envelope – your vote will not be counted.
Iowa absentee ballot ID requirements
- ID required when requesting a mail-in ballot:
The signature on your absentee ballot application will be compared to the signature on your voter registration card to ensure they match.
- ID required when returning a mail-in ballot:
Your signature on the return envelope will be compared to the signature on your voter registration card to ensure they match. If you forget to sign the return envelope, your ballot might be rejected.
Iowa absentee ballot tracker
Track your ballot here: Iowa absentee ballot tracker
Iowa absentee ballot curing
Ballot curing is the process of resolving any problems with your absentee or mail ballot to ensure that your vote is counted. After tracking your ballot, contact your local election office to fix any issues that have been noted.
- Your ballot will be rejected if you forget to sign it or if the signature does not match the one that state has on file for you.
- You must make corrections by close of polls on Election Day for your vote to count.
Iowa emergency ballots
Some states have special procedures that allow you to obtain an emergency ballot if a medical or other emergency occurs after the standard absentee ballot application window.Emergency Ballot Rules
You can apply for an emergency absentee ballot if you are hospitalized within 3 days of Election Day. Your application must be received no later than 4 hours before polls close on Election Day.
- Emergency ballot request ends 4 hours before polls close on Election Day
- Emergency ballot return deadline is close of polls on Election Day or postmarked one day before Election Day.
Contact your local election office
Local election office
Contact your local election office if you have questions.
Statewide election office
This is the statewide agency that is ultimately responsible for Iowa elections. You can contact them with questions, but your local election office will probably respond faster.
Elections Division Office of the Secretary of State Lucas Building‐1st Floor 321 E. 12th Street Des Moines, IA 50319
- Iowa online voter registration
- Iowa voter status lookup
- Iowa absentee ballot tracker
- Iowa polling place locator