By the time Linn County Election Services processes your absentee ballot request, mails an absentee ballot to you, receives the ballot back from you, files the ballot to be counted, opens the affidavit envelope containing your absentee ballot, and counts the absentee ballot, we have about $5.00 wrapped up in the end-to-end process. As of today, we have issued 37,049 absentee ballots and 30,686 have been returned to us.
Ultimately, if 3,000 of those absentee ballots are never returned to us to be counted, we will have wasted about $12,000 tax dollars on those 3,000 unreturned absentee ballots.
Although we do not collaborate with partisan organizations/candidates to get absentee ballots returned, we recognize that sometimes they are helpful, e.g., a postcard from the DCCC reminds voters to return their absentee ballots and states, “Ballots must be received by 9pm on Nov 6th”.
If the DCCC mails out a postcard in the future, they should probably add the word “absentee” when referring to ballots in Iowa, e.g., “absentee ballots must be handed over to the Auditor’s Office by 9pm on November 6th or postmarked no later than November 5th to be counted”.
The DCCC might also note that the affidavit envelope and the absentee ballot may be exchanged at your precinct polling place for a precinct ballot if you choose not to vote the absentee ballot. And finally, if you threw away your absentee ballot or the dog ate it, you can vote a provisional ballot.
If the reason you signed an absentee ballot request form was to get the door knocker to leave you alone, and you had no intention of voting absentee; then please be assertive the next time someone knocks on your door and say No Thank You.
Voting by mail is expensive and we would like to account for every absentee ballot we issue. Requesting an absentee ballot and not voting it not only increases the costs of elections and your taxes, but lends itself to conspiracy theories about missing votes. Be assertive! If you do not want to vote, then say so. It is your right. –Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor