Iowa Absentee Ballot Guide

Last updated May 04, 2014
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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to provide ID when I register to vote in Iowa?

If you're registering for the first time in Iowa and you do not have an Iowa driver's license number, or an Iowa non-driver ID card number, then you must include a copy of your ID with your voter registration form.  If you forget, you'll need to provide ID the first time you vote in person or by absentee ballot.  Acceptable forms of ID include: a copy of a current photo ID with your name and Iowa address OR a copy of a utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document which shows your name and Iowa address.  If you register to vote in person on election day, bring a copy of your ID with you to the polls!

Do I need to provide ID when I vote by absentee ballot in Iowa? 

You do not need to provide ID if you've already voted in Iowa at least once.  If you are a first-time voter who registered to vote by mail, and you did not meet the ID requirements when you registered to vote, then you should include a copy of your ID with your absentee ballot application.  Acceptable forms of ID include: a COPY of a current and valid photo ID OR a COPY of a utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document which shows your name and Iowa address.

Can I vote in person before the election in Iowa?

Yes. Check out our Early Voting page for details.

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. 


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