November 3, 2020 General Election

Absentee and Election Day FAQs

Requesting an Absentee Ballot

Can I track my absentee ballot?

Yes. If you visit, it will tell you when we received your absentee ballot request, when we mailed your ballot, and when we received your returned ballot.

If I submit multiple absentee ballot requests, will I receive multiple ballots?

NO, because every absentee ballot request is manually entered. That means if we receive a duplicate absentee request, we check to make sure no information has changed.

I requested an absentee ballot, but now I want to vote at the polls. Is that allowed?

Yes, it is. While we’d like you to stick to your original voting plan, if you change your mind and want to vote on Election Day instead:

If we haven’t received your absentee ballot: Take your absentee ballot with you to your polling place and surrender it to the pollworkers. They will call us, we’ll void out your absentee ballot request, and you will vote a regular ballot.

If we have already received your absentee ballot: You will vote a provisional ballot. The provisional ballot will be counted ONLY IF your mailed absentee ballot gets rejected. If your absentee ballot is accepted, your provisional will be rejected.

Voting Absentee In-Person

Will you have in-person voting available at the Auditor’s Office?

Our office will be having in-person absentee voting available starting October 5th. We are bringing back our drive-through voting model, and it will be available on the first floor of the Health & Human Services Ramp (855 S. Dubuque St.)!

If I requested a ballot to be mailed to me and decide to vote early in person is that ok?

Yes, it is! We’d like you to stick to your original voting plan, but here’s what you do:

If you have your received your ballot, fill it out and drop it off at our office!

If you have not received your ballot, you can come to our office and vote a ballot. We’ll have to void out your original absentee request, so if you receive your original ballot in the mail return it to our office UNVOTED, and we will shred it.

Will you have satellite voting available?

We have many satellite voting opportunities available throughout the county. You can view the full schedule at

Do I have to show an ID in order to vote absentee in-person?

Yes, legislation passed earlier this year requires that voters looking to vote absentee in-person must show proof of identification. Approved forms of identification can be found at Anyone without one of the approved forms of identification can use Election Day Registration documents to prove identity and residency or have a registered voter from the same precinct attest for them.

What if I don’t have ID or anybody to attest for me?

Unfortunately, in that scenario you will need to leave and come back another time with the proper identification or with an attester. But we have drive-through voting available through the day before the election and plenty of satellite voting stations, so you have plenty of opportunities to try again!

Can I register to vote if I show up to vote absentee in-person?

Yes, you can! If you vote before 5PM on 10/24, all you have to do is fill out a Voter Registration Form and do not need to provide any documentation. If you need to register after that point, you will need to provide proof of identification and residency. In either scenario, you will be able to register and vote at the same time. NOTE: everyone that votes need to show their ID.

If a satellite isn’t located in my precinct, am I still able to vote there?

Yes! Satellites are open to all eligible voters in the county. REMINDER: On Election Day, you MUST vote at your precinct polling place!

If I show up to vote absentee in-person, can I take my ballot home with me and return it later?

NO! You must vote your ballot right there. You cannot leave the voting area with your ballot.

Completing Your Absentee Ballot

My signature has changed over the years. Does it need to exactly match all my old signatures?

Iowa does not have a signature match requirement, so we will not be comparing signatures to what you have signed on your return envelope.

If I mark an X through the ovals on my ballot instead of filling them in, will it still count?

If you mark Xs, here’s what happens:

-The ballot will be marked unreadable by our ballot scanner.
-A bipartisan team will inspect the ballot. If they can determine the voter’s intention, which candidates were supposed to be voted for, they will fill in a new ballot with those choices and run that through the ballot scanner.

Do I have to use a black pen to mark my ballot?

While black pen works best, you can mark the ballot with different color pens or even pencil. If the ballot is marked unreadable by the scanner, a new ballot with the same choices will be marked by a bipartisan team and run though the ballot scanner.

Returning Your Ballot

How do you know if my ballot was mailed in time?

The envelope you use to mail your absentee ballot back includes an Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB). This barcode is scanned by the post office, and we are able to pull a daily report from the post office letting us know which ballots were scanned into the system.

If your ballot was not mailed in time, we will send you a letter indicating so.

Can I drop my ballot off at the office or does it have to go through the mail?

You can absolutely drop your ballot off at our office. We will have a drop box set up on our campus (913 S. Dubuque St.) where you can drop your ballot off. The box will be checked multiple times a day.

Can someone else return my ballot for me?

YES. Anybody but a candidate can return your ballot for you. You’ll receive a set of instructions for voting your absentee ballot, which includes a receipt you can have the person returning your ballot fill out so you have it for your records.

After You’ve Returned Your Absentee Ballot

How do I know if my ballot was accepted?

We don’t send out specific letters to let someone know their ballot was accepted. We only send letters to those who had their ballots rejected. So if you do not receive a rejection letter, you can assume your ballot was accepted!

If I’m not sure if my ballot was accepted, should I just go to the polling place and vote?

NO. Going to the polling place when you have already voted an absentee ballot slows down lines and creates greater crowding. If you have questions about your absentee status, you can e-mail [email protected].

I’ve heard my absentee only gets counted if a race is close. Is that true?

That is false! We count every absentee ballot, except for those rejected for being defective or incomplete.

When are absentee ballot results posted?

Absentee ballot results will be posted immediately after polls close on Election Day or shortly thereafter. State law requires that we get absentee results posted within an hour of polls closing, barring any unexpected equipment errors.

Voting on Election Day

If I don’t have an ID with me at my polling place what can I do?

If you do not have an ID, you can have a registered voter in the precinct attest for your identity and residency. That attester MUST provide identity. If you do not have an attester, you can vote a provisional ballot.

If I vote a provisional ballot, what do I do? How long do I have to fix it?

If you vote a provisional ballot, the pollworker will provide you with a paper explaining why you are voting provisionally and what you can do to solve it (It will most likely include stopping by our office and proving your identity or residency). The deadline to fix your provisional ballot will be 12 PM on Tuesday, November 10th.

Should I be concerned about people standing outside of my polling place?

Most likely, those individuals are conducting exit polling, which is perfectly safe and legal. Nobody is allowed to ask you about your vote until after you have voted, and you do not have to answer. Just remember that political activities are not allowed within 300 feet of a polling place, and nobody is allowed to try to campaign at the polling place. If you see that happening, please call our office IMMEDIATELY at (319) 356-6004.

Can I register to vote on Election Day?

Yes, you can! You will have to provide proof of identification and proof of residency, or have someone registered to vote in your precinct who can attest for you. You can find acceptable forms of ID and residency at

If you have any other questions about absentee or Election Day voting, you can call our office at (319) 356-6004 or e-mail us at [email protected].


Elections Office
Phone: 319-356-6004

Elections Deputy
Bogdana Velterean

Johnson County Auditor’s Office
Administration Building
913 S. Dubuque St. Suite 101
Iowa City, IA 52240

Phone: 319-356-6004
Fax: 319-356-6086

Office Hours
Monday – Friday
7:45 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Bus Route
(Lakeside or Broadway bus routes)

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