Linn County Auditor asks for more time counting absentee ballots ahead of Election Day

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 10:33 PM CDT
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LINN COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) -Linn County Auditor Joel Miller is asking the state for more time to count absentee ballots ahead of Election Day. Miller sent in a petition to Iowa’s Secretary of State office asking for an extension that would also impact future elections. The petition argues most Iowa counties will not be able to finish counting absentee ballots by the deadline.

Right now, the deadline to count ballots is 10 pm on Tuesday, November 3rd. Iowa Code says election officials can start counting absentee ballots the day before a general Election Day. That gives Miller and his staff almost 48 hours to count all the ballots. This year, Miller says he’s expecting twice as many absentee ballots as usual because of the pandemic, with estimates at 80-90,000 absentee ballots in Linn County. Miller says he’d like to be able to start counting ballots the Saturday before Election Day. Miller says since having to re-send out request forms for absentee ballots, his office has gotten 25,000 of those forms back, with thousands more coming in every day.

Miller says so far, the failure rate for absentee ballot request forms is at 10%, and that the most common reason of a failed request form is someone filling in the wrong voter pin number or driver’s license number. Anyone with incorrect information is informed by the auditor’s office that their request form failed, and must re-send a request form in order to receive an absentee ballot. Miller says he expects the failure rate to keep going up as more people request absentee ballots.

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