Clayton County, Iowa

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Returning Your Ballot

How do I return an absentee ballot?

You can return your ballot by mail or in person.  Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by the day before the election and received prior to the official canvass in order to be counted. Ballots may also be returned in person to the Auditor's Office prior to the close of the polls on Election Day.

Can I return my ballot by fax?

No.  The actual ballot must be returned.

Does the ballot have to be returned by mail?

Your 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 only people who cannot return your ballot at your request are candidates.

When must I return the voted ballot?

Absentee ballots must be received no later than the close of polls (9:00 p.m. for partisan general and primary elections, and 8 p.m. for all other elections) on Election Day.  Your voted absentee ballot must be returned to the Auditor's Office, not your polling place.  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).  The canvass is usually six days after the election, but may be held sooner.

If I request an absentee ballot, can I change my mind and 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.

How are absentee ballots counted?

All absentee ballots remain sealed until Election Day.  On Election Day, a bipartisan Absentee Ballot Board of at least three members opens the ballots and counts them.  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.

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