Rules of absentee voting


MASON CITY, Iowa – There isn’t a quiet moment at the Cerro Gordo County Auditor’s office as Election Day approaches. Voters are coming in, ready to cast their ballots.

“I think it’s great to do, that it gives everybody the opportunity to vote early, make sure they do that,” Rockwell resident Antonette Koppen said. “If you can’t make it that day that would be really sad.”

Koppen is casting her ballot early to avoid all the chaos at the polls on November 8th. And once she’s done voting, that’s it, there’s no more chance for her to change that decision.

“Different states have different laws and Iowa when you cast an absentee ballot and return that ballot to the auditor’s office, you have voted and you don’t get to change that vote,” Cerro Gordo County Auditor Ken Kline said.

However, in Minnesota, the rule is different. If you want to change your vote, you can up to one week before the election.

But Kline says states make their own laws governing voting procedures, and Iowa is different, meaning you better make sure you are ready to cast that ballot when you do.

“If they are undecided or think they might change their current position I strongly urge them to wait until they’re ready,” Kline said.

Koppen agrees with Iowa’s law. But even though she’s done voting, that doesn’t mean she’s going to stop paying attention.

“I still am interested in watching,” Koppen said. “It’s like reality TV, you can’t let it go, you have to keep watching.

Kline says the number of ballots his office mailed out is down about 1,000 from four years ago, but the number of in-person voters is up at this point.

If you would still like to vote absentee, the last day the auditor’s office will mail out a ballot is the Friday before an election which is November 4th. If you are mailing your ballot in, it must be in the hands of the auditor’s office by noon the Monday after the election, and must be postmarked prior to the day of the election.

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