Iowa Absentee Ballot Guide

Last updated March 22, 2016
Military and Overseas voters should visit the Overseas Vote Foundation. Long Distance Voter's information should only be used by voters with US mailing addresses.

Important Deadlines

  • Voter Registration Form: Received 10 days before General and Primary Elections or received 11 days before all other elections (in-person). Postmarked 15 days before Election Day (by mail). You may also register in person on Election Day.
  • Absentee Ballot Application: Received by 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before the election
  • Voted Absentee Ballot: Postmarked by the day before the election and received by noon on the Tuesday after the election

How to vote by absentee ballot

Register to vote

Recommended: Use our Voter Registration Tool.  Enter your information, print and sign the completed form, and mail it to the address printed on the form.  

You can also use the Iowa Voter Registration Form. Send your completed form to your County Auditor.

Verify your voter registration

It's best to verify your voter registration before applying for your absentee ballot.  If there's a problem with your registration, register again before proceeding.

NOTE: Most people receive their voter registration cards in the mail 2-3 weeks after registering to vote. Don't worry if you lost your voter registration card. You don't actually need it to vote.

Make sure you're eligible to vote by absentee ballot

Good news!  Any registered Iowa voter can vote by absentee ballot.

Apply for your absentee ballot

Download and complete the Iowa absentee ballot application.  Mail your completed form to your County Auditor's office.  

You can request an absentee ballot at anytime before the election, but your request must be received by 5 p.m. on the Friday before the election. Ballots are usually printed at least 40 day before the election. If you send in your request prior to that, that county auditor will hold your request until the ballots are ready.  

Check with your County Auditor if your absentee ballot doesn't arrive in a timely fashion.  You can also track your absentee ballot application online.

Receive, complete and return your absentee ballot

This one is pretty-straight forward.  Vote your ballot, sign where indicated, and mail the ballot back to your County Auditor's office.  Your absentee ballot must be postmarked before election day.

Additional Information

State Election Website:
Local Election Officials: Your Local Election Official is the best person to contact if you have questions.  They'll be able to provide up-to-date information on rules and deadlines. 


Every person who shares helps us reach three more voters.