Election officials say the most common mistake Iowans make when voting by mail is failing to sign the so-called “affidavit” envelope for the absentee ballot. It’s the outer envelope that’s used to mail the ballot, not the “secrecy” envelope that contains the ballot itself.
Clinton County Auditor Eric Van Lancker is one of 99 county election officials who’re preparing for Iowans to vote in their office starting next Monday and to start receiving hundreds of thousands of ballots through the mail.
“You come in or you fill out your ballot at home and then you put it an envelope,” he says, “and then it stays in that envelope until we count it on Election Day.”
On Friday, a panel of legislators gave county election officials permission to start opening the outer envelopes in which ballots are mailed on October 31st. Van Lancker says his office has already received about 11,000 absentee ballot requests from Clinton County voters who asked for a ballot to be mailed to them.
“For comparison, the most absentee ballots we’ve counted in my 12 years as county auditor was 12,469,” Van Lancker says. “…6000 of those were mailed and we’re already sitting on pretty much 11,000.”
As of last Friday, state election officials indicated nearly 600,000 Iowans had submitted a request for an absentee ballot.
(Dave Vickers, KROS, Clinton contributed to this story.)