Linn County Auditor’s Office will mail absentee ballot request forms to every voter for November’s election

Iowa’s absentee ballot request form for the June 2020 primary election. — Emma McClatchey/Little Village

The Linn County Auditor’s Office will mail absentee ballot request forms with a postage-paid return envelope to all voters in the county ahead of the November general election.

The office is encouraging Linn County residents to vote by mail due to COVID-19, just as they did for the June primary. The Auditor’s Office will mail the request forms to about 145,000 registered voters in late July or early August.

For the June primary, Secretary of State Paul Pate’s office mailed absentee ballot request forms to every active registered voter in the state with prepaid postage for return mailing. Pate also expanded the mail-in voting period for the primary.

But due to legislation that was passed by the Iowa Legislature last month, Pate is unable to mail absentee ballot request forms to voters for the upcoming November election unless the voter submitted a written request for the form.

The restriction on the secretary of state’s power does not apply to county auditors, which is why Linn County and Johnson County auditors are able to mail the forms to registered voters.

The absentee ballot request form for Linn County can also be found online. Monday is the first day the Auditor’s Office can accept the forms. Voters have until 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, to request an absentee ballot.

There will be four secure drop boxes for individuals to drop off their request forms and ballots if they don’t want to mail them back. The drop boxes will be installed mid-July at the following locations:

• Linn County Public Service Center, 935 2nd St. SW, Cedar Rapids

• Marion Hy-Vee, 3600 Business Highway 151, Marion

• Edgewood Hy-Vee, 5050 Edgewood Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

• Johnson Avenue Hy-Vee, 1843 Johnson Ave NW, Cedar Rapids

The office will begin mailing ballots on Monday, Oct. 5.

Early in-person absentee voting will be available from Oct. 5 to Nov. 2. The Auditor’s Office is still figuring out the details of how to accommodate early voters, while taking the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

There will still be in-person voting on Election Day, but the county will be combining some polling locations. The Auditor’s Office will mail postcards to voters in October with their election day polling location.

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