Election law changes will negatively impact snowbirds, too

Voters are starting to realize how Iowa’s new election laws are going to affect voting by mail. The email below is a summary of a contact one of my employees had with a Linn County voter that spends winters in North Carolina.

Sent: Thursday, August 5, 2021 10:11 AM
To: Miller, Joel <joel.miller@linncounty-ia.gov>
Subject: Absentee Ballot by Mail

Hi Joel-

A voter asked about the law changes in regards to the absentee ballot by mail request time and the soonest we could mail ballots.

The voter and his spouse winter in a rural spot in North Carolina and mentioned it took 13 days for them to receive their ballots (assuming he used the postmark date on the delivery envelope).

While talking to the voter, we agreed on the following points:

  1. The mail at a national level has slowed.
  2. Mail in local jurisdictions has to go to a larger city to be processed.
  3. Cutting out nine days out of mailing time will result in some voters getting the ballot too late to vote.
  4. Also in-person absentee voting has been cut down to 20 days before election day. Snow birds may get caught up in this since some leave at the first part of October.
  5. Voters in Linn County are lucky to have mail stay in the Cedar Rapids area.

I know this is nothing new but voters are starting to notice how they will be impacted in future elections.


Our upcoming City/School elections in November 2021 are going to be the first time the new vote by mail laws affect a large number of absentee voters. Vote by mail voters using the Postal Service in Linn County should not experience any issues with their absentee ballots being counted, as long as they do not procrastinate and they fill out the absentee ballot request forms correctly.

My recommendation: Snowbirds and other Linn County voters using the vote by mail process from outside of Linn County may be wise to use FedEx, UPS, or USPS 1-2 day delivery services to ensure their ballots are in our hands by 8pm on election night.

Obviously, the Majority Party in the Legislature and the Governor did NOT consider the de facto “poll taxes” (express mail service charges) they were imposing on out of county voters with the new election laws. They were interested in making vote by mail and early voting as inconvenient as possible. And they really only want you to vote if you can vote in your precinct on Election Day. I view it as the Majority Party in the Legislature picking the voters they want to vote, instead of the voters picking the legislators.

Do you have a plan to vote in 2021. If not, it’s time to start planning to ensure your vote is going to count. Posted by Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

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