Northwest Iowa — After a nearly five-day delay, absentee ballots are now available in every county in our four-county listening area.
Absentee ballots were supposed to have been available on Monday of this week, but due to a delay at the printing company, almost all the ballots were late to arrive.
In Sioux County, election officials tell us that the ballots shipped from the printer on Wednesday and they arrived on Friday. O’Brien County election officials tell us their ballots also arrived on Friday. Osceola County ballots came in on Wednesday, and Lyon County ballots came in on Tuesday.
No one that we’ve talked to knows why there was a printing delay, but some speculate that it was because with the new combination school and city election this fall, a number of counties had to have many more ballot styles than they would have with a city or a school election on their own. The reason for that is that most school districts in our area include many cities.
You can request an absentee ballot be sent to you if you hand-deliver or mail in a special form. You can also vote in person at the auditor’s office. But you cannot go to the auditor’s office and take a ballot home with you, as all absentee ballots may only leave the auditor’s office through the mail. Contact your auditor’s office for more information.
First update, posted Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at 3:56 p.m.:
Primghar, Iowa — Absentee ballots for the Tuesday, November 5th city and school general election should have been available from the County Auditor’s Office in your county on Monday. But at least in O’Brien County, they are STILL not available.
According to O’Brien County Auditor Barb Rohwer, the proof ballots have been slow to come in, not only in O’Brien County, but elsewhere as well. She says she hopes to have the ballots sometime this Thursday, October 10th.
You can request that a ballot be mailed to you when they come in. And, after they come in, you can vote in-person at the Auditor’s Office in the O’Brien County Courthouse in Primghar if you are an O’Brien County resident.
As far as other counties in the area — in Sioux County, election officials tell us that the ballots shipped on Wednesday and they also hope to receive them this Thursday. Osceola County ballots came in on Wednesday, and Lyon County ballots came in on Tuesday.
Officials in the auditors’ offices tell us that the delay has been with the printing company. But the company did have many more ballots than usual to print since the election is now a combined city and school election.
Original story, posted Friday, October 24th at 4:17 p.m.:
Northwest Iowa — Absentee ballots for the Tuesday, November 5th city and school general election SHOULD be available from the County Auditor’s Office in your county on Monday. But, there’s an issue.
According to O’Brien County Auditor Barb Rohwer, the proof ballots have been slow to come in, so it’s highly possible that the ballots will not be ready on time on Monday. She says other counties may have the same issue. She says you may still request a ballot on an official form and send it in or drop it off, but they’ll have to send you the ballot when it’s available. The forms are available at the office, by mail, or online at the Iowa Secretary of State’s website. CLICK HERE for the form.
Hopefully, says Rohwer, the ballots will be available by Wednesday, October 9th.
Absentee voting has been on the rise in Iowa. Many political campaigns have been suggesting early voting, saying “life is uncertain.” They want to make sure you have the opportunity to vote, no matter what happens in your life on election day.
Officials tell us you can also vote in-person at the Auditor’s office (once the ballots are available). But Rowenhorst emphasizes that at no time can you fill out a request form, drop it off, and expect to take a ballot out of the Auditor’s office that day — for yourself or anyone else. The two options are voting right there and then (if the ballots are available), or having it mailed to your address. No ballots leave the Auditor’s office except by mail. So if you’re going to drop off the form, you should know how you’re going to vote when you go, or expect at least a few days’ delay for the ballot to come in the mail. You may drop off filled-out and signed ballot request forms for others, but the ballots will have to be mailed to the voters, no matter if you come in before or after they are available.