Absentee Ballot Solicitor Information
Excerpt from Chapter 3 – Election Administrator’s Handbook
Absentee Ballot Request Solicitor Restrictions
- Official form and receipts required
Persons collecting absentee ballot requests while acting as an actual or implied agent for a political party, candidate, or committee as defined by Chapter 68A must use the official absentee ballot request form. They must also issue receipts for the completed request forms. Receipts must include the following information:
- Name of voter
- Name and date of election for which voter is requesting a ballot
- Name and contact phone number of the person collecting the forms
- Political party, candidate or committee the person is representing
- Date and time the request was received from the voter
- Statement that the request form will be delivered to the county auditor within 72 hours of receiving the form or by 5 p.m. on the Friday before the election, whichever is earlier
- Statement that an absentee ballot will be mailed to the voter within 24 hours after the auditor receives the request or within 24 hours of when ballots are available [§53.30]
The SOS provides an official absentee ballot request form with a receipt attached. A copy is available in the Election Forms Library. https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/pdf/absenteeballotapprec.pdf
- Pre-printed/pre-addressed applications
Groups working to collect absentee ballot requests may print voter information on the official form or apply stickers with a voter’s name and address. The voter must sign the form.
No one may pre-print or pre-address an absentee ballot request form with instructions to send the ballot to any person except the voter. The auditor’s address is the only mail-to address that can be printed on the absentee ballot request form.
- Requests turned in within 72 hours
Persons collecting absentee ballot requests while acting as an actual or implied agent for a political party, candidate, or committee as defined by Chapter 68A must return completed request forms to the auditor within 72 hours after the forms are collected from voters or no later than 5 p.m. on the Friday before the election, whichever is earlier. This deadline is extended until the next business day if the auditor’s office is not open at the expiration of the 72 hour time limit. [§47.4, 5]
Who May Sign Absentee Ballot Requests
A person who has power of attorney does not have the right to request or cast an absentee ballot for another person. A voter may ask for help to request or mark the absentee ballot, but the voter must sign the request form and affidavit of voter requesting assistance if casting a ballot with assistance at the auditor’s office. The voter must decide how to mark the ballot.
Voters with disabilities may be unable to sign their names. They may substitute:
- A rubber stamp reproduction of the voter’s signature if it is affixed by the voter or at the request of the voter and in the voter’s presence.
- The name of the voter written by another person if it is done at the request of the voter and in the voter’s presence.
Important Note to Solicitors
Do not allow anyone other than the voter to sign the absentee ballot request form, except as outlined above for voters with disabilities.
- Anyone doing so is committing forgery and will be subject to prosecution.
- This restriction applies to everyone including parents of the applicant, the spouse of the applicant and the Power of Attorney of the applicant.
Excerpt from Code of Iowa
The definitions established by this section shall apply wherever the terms so defined appear in this chapter and in chapters 39A, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48A through 53, and 68A unless the context in which any such term is used clearly requires otherwise.
17. “Written” and “in writing” may include any mode of representing words or letters in general use. A signature, when required by law, must be made by the writing or markings of the person whose signature is required. If a person is unable due to a physical disability to make a written signature or mark, that person may substitute either of the following in lieu of a signature required by law:
- The name of the person with a disability written by another upon the request and in the presence of the person with a disability.
- A rubber stamp reproduction of the name or facsimile of the actual signature of the person with a disability when adopted by that person for all purposes requiring a signature and then only when affixed by that person or another upon the request and in the presence of the person with a disability.