Absentee Ballots Hit the Mail Today, Early Voters Hit the Polls Tomorrow
By Steve Gravelle, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - With absentee ballots going into the mail Wednesday and Iowa's early voting opening Thursday, a reminder from your county auditor: don't try to use both.
"We're probably going to have people showing up to vote tomorrow who have also requested an absentee ballot," Linn County Auditor Joel Miller said this morning.
Miller's staff is mailing nearly 17,000 absentee ballots requested by county voters.
With both parties encouraging supporters to vote early, Miller expects many who have requested ballots will also show up to vote at his office on the second floor of the Jean Oxley Public Service Center, 935 Second St. SW. They won't be allowed to, because their ballot requests flag their names on the voter rolls. But they won't know that until they've waited in line, and Miller expects the wait could be lengthy.
Miller said his office has received "several hundred" duplicate requests for absentee ballots. He assumes they're from residents who sign up forgetting they'd already filed a request.
Absentee ballots must be return-mailed by 5 p.m. Nov. 5, the day before Election Day, or hand-delivered to Miller's office. Voters may also bring their absentee ballots to the polls on Election Day.
Residents in the metro area should have their absentee ballots Thursday.
Absentee voters mailing their ballots close to Election Day must ensure they're postmarked. Miller noted they'll have to request a hand-stamped cancellation - ballots are processed as business mail, which doesn't usually receive a postmark.
"That will probably get more critical as we get closer," he said.
Absentee requests are still coming in: staff received 951 Tuesday and 473 through 11 a.m. Wednesday. The county will mail 168 absentee ballots overseas. Military personnel and civilians in hazardous-duty areas may vote by email.
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