Winneshiek County clarifies absentee ballot counting process

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WINNESHIEK COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) - After some questions from community members, the Winneshiek County Auditor Ben Steines is clarifying how they determine if an absentee ballot can be counted.

In an email, Steines said Iowa Code 59.17(2) allows two methods for determining whether a late ballot was mailed before the election.

One of the methods to use is the "Intelligent Mail Barcode System," which requires barcodes to be printed on the ballot return envelopes before they're sent to the voter.

In Winneshiek County Steines says they don't use this method, but instead use the other option involving the postmark on the envelope.

Steines says the ballot envelope must be "clearly postmarked" on the day before the election or earlier to be counted.

Steines said any ballots that are not postmarked and received after Election Day won't be included in the official results.

"This is not a choice of the Board of Supervisors, this is not the choice of the Auditor, this is state law," Steines said.

Steines said on Friday during the Post Election Audit Precinct 5 was randomly selected and counted by hand. Steines said the hand count matched the machine count from Election Day with 100 percent accuracy.

"This is a new test that was implemented this year to verify voting machine accuracy and boost voter confidence," Steines said.