Voting by Mail (Absentee
Ballot) in Johnson County, Iowa
For all Johnson County voters except overseas and military
voters, to receive an absentee ballot in the mail, print and complete the
Johnson County Absentee Ballot Request
Form (.pdf) , and mail or hand deliver it to Johnson County Auditor,
913 S Dubuque St. Suite 101, Iowa City IA 52240.
For overseas and military voters, print and complete the
Federal Post Card
Application (FPCA) form. Additional information for overseas and military
Frequently Asked Questions
Please review instructions before printing and completing the
Johnson County Absentee Ballot Request
State law does not allow us to accept requests for early or
absentee ballots by e-mail.
To request a ballot, print and complete the form
and mail or hand deliver it to our office. If you are filling out a form
for yourself you do not need to complete the receipt section (lower half of the
organizations collecting absentee requests must complete the receipt and give a
copy to the voter.
You may also fax a request to (319) 356-6086. However, a faxed request is only
recommended if your ballot needs to be mailed a great distance in the last few
days before an election. This is because if you request an absentee
ballot by fax, the original request form must be postmarked by the Friday before
the election, and received
prior to the polls closing on Election Day.
Upon receiving your request, and when ballots are available, an absentee ballot and instructions
will be mailed to you. Ballots for the November 6
presidential election will be mailed beginning the last week of September.
The deadline to request a ballot by mail is the Friday before an election
(May 3 for May 7 justice center election).
Requests must be received in our office by 5 p.m. You may still vote
early in person at our office or at a satellite voting site through the
day before the election.
Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by the
day before Election Day and received prior to the official canvass in order to
be counted. NOTE: In recent years, to save costs, the Postal Service has
discontinued postmarks on local mail. If your ballot is received after Election
Day and has no postmark, it cannot be counted.
Ballots may also be returned in person to the Auditor's Office prior
to the close of the polls on Election Day.
Mail your completed request to:
JOHNSON COUNTY AUDITOR
913 S DUBUQUE ST SUITE 101
IOWA CITY IA 52240
Please e-mail or call our
office at (319) 356-6004 with any questions.
Getting your ballot
Who may vote an absentee ballot?
Any registered voter may vote early for any reason in any election. There are
three ways to vote early:
- At the Auditor's Office during business hours, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
- At any of our satellite early voting stations around Johnson County.
These locations are announced before each election.
- To vote by mail, send a signed request to the Auditor's Office. Iowa
Absentee Ballot Request Form.
When is the first and last day to apply for an absentee ballot?
State law no longer specifies the first day you can request an absentee
ballot. (Until 2004, voters could not request a ballot until 70 days
before an election; that restriction has been removed.)
The deadline to request a ballot by mail is 5 p.m. the Friday before
an election. (Friday, November 2 for the November 6 presidential election). You may still vote early in
person at our office or at a satellite voting site through the day before
If you are voting by mail your ballot must be postmarked the day before the
election OR returned in person to our office on Election Day by the close of
When are the ballots sent out?
By law domestic ballots must be ready 40 days before primary and general elections
(Thursday, September 27 for the November 6
and overseas and military ballots must be ready 45 days before primary and
general elections (Thursday, September 22 for the presidential election).
The law does not specify when ballots must be ready for other types of
As soon as ballots are available, they are sent to everyone who has
requested a ballot up to that time. After ballots are ready, requests are processed within the next business day.
Can I sign up to automatically get an absentee ballot for every election?
Some states allow you to sign up for an automatic absentee ballot for every
election, but in Iowa you must request an absentee ballot in writing for each
election. The only exception: members of the military or persons
living outside the United States may complete a Federal Post Card
Application (FPCA) and receive ballots for all elections through
the calendar year.
Federal Voting Assistance Program site
What information must be included in my application?
Include your printed name, your Johnson County address, the
address you want the absentee ballot sent to (if different than your
registration address), and the date and name of the election (for example,
"November 6 presidential election"). In addition,
you must sign and date your application.
For partisan primary elections (such as
the June 5, 2012 primary), you must
include your party affiliation. Note: a
city primary (October, odd numbered
years, if needed) is not a partisan primary and partisan affiliation is not required.
I'm moving before the election. Can I request a ballot? Which
address should I list?
If you know the address to which you will be moving, we recommend that you
complete a new voter registration application
indicating your new address and the date you will be moving. Request
your ballot for the new address where you will be living on Election
Day. We will then process your
address change and absentee request after the date you listed.
Can I request a ballot by e-mail?
No. The law requires a signature.
Can I request a ballot by fax?
We can mail you your ballot if we receive a faxed request.
However, in order for your vote to be counted, the original request
form must be postmarked by the Friday before the election, and received
prior to the polls closing on Election Day. A faxed request is only recommended if your ballot needs to be
mailed a great distance in the last few days before an election..
Can I request an absentee ballot for someone else?
You may pick up a request form for someone else,
but the law requires a signature from the voter. You may bring a request
form to someone, have them sign it, and bring or send the form back to our
Can I pick up an absentee ballot for someone else?
Again, you may pick up a request form for someone
else, but we must mail the ballot directly to that voter. You may
mail multiple requests in the same envelope.
Can I take a ballot home with me?
No. Iowa law does not allow us to give you a ballot to take home. You
can either vote right away in our office or at the satellite site, or we can
mail you your ballot.
If I lose my absentee ballot, can I get another one?
Yes. However, you must sign a statement that you have lost or did not
receive the first absentee ballot. Our office keeps a record of each request,
and provides a list of these requests to the polling place to ensure that each
voter only casts one ballot.
Returning your ballot
How do I return an absentee ballot?
You can return your ballot by mail or in person.
Can I return my ballot by fax?
No, the actual ballot must be returned.
Does the ballot have to be returned by mail?
Your early ballot may be returned in person or by mail. Return
postage is paid.
Can I give my voted absentee ballot to someone else to return for me?
Yes. The ballot courier laws that were in effect for the 2004 and 2006
general elections were repealed before the 2008 presidential election. The
only people who cannot return your ballot at your request are candidates.
When must I return the voted ballot?
Absentee ballots must be received by the elections official no later than
the close of polls (9:00 p.m. for general and partisan primary elections, and 8 p.m. for
all other elections) on Election Day. On Election Day, your voted
absentee ballot must be returned to the auditor's office (not your
If you return your voted ballot by mail, your ballot must be postmarked by
the day before the election. It will be counted if it arrives by noon on the
Monday after the election, or before the canvass (official
certification of results). NOTE: In recent years, to save costs, the
Postal Service has discontinued postmarks on local mail. If your ballot is
received after Election Day and has no postmark, it cannot be counted.
The canvass is usually six or seven days after the
election, but may be held sooner.
If I request an absentee ballot, can I change my mind and still vote at my
regular polling place?
If you still have your absentee ballot on Election Day and want to vote at
the polls instead, take the absentee ballot with you to the polling place and
give it to the poll workers. You will then be allowed to vote a regular
ballot at the polling place.
If you requested an absentee ballot but lost it or never received it, or if
you do not bring your unvoted absentee ballot with you to the polls, you will
be required to sign an oath stating this fact. You may then vote a provisional
ballot. This allows the provisional ballot board to make sure your
absentee ballot was not received.
I heard absentee ballots are only counted if the election is close.
Don't know where you heard that, but it's not true. Your vote counts just
the same whether you cast it early or on Election Day.
How are absentee ballots
processed and counted?
When mailed absentee ballots are returned, our staff opens the outer
"return carrier" envelope and checks the inner "affidavit envelope" for
problems such as a missing signature or address. If there is a problem, we
contact the voter.
The day before the election, the affidavit envelopes may be opened by the
Absentee Ballot Board, a team of pollworkers balanced by party. Ballots are
kept in the innermost "secrecy folder."
Election Day, the Absentee Ballot Board removes the ballots from the secrecy
folder and feeds them into a high speed ballot
reader. The results are
not announced until the polls are closed. If additional absentee ballots
with timely postmarks arrive after Election Day, members of the absentee board
meet again to count them.