Lost in the mail

What to do if your mail-in ballot is lost

T-R PHOTO BY JOE FISHER To report a lost or unreceived ballot, voters can request this form by calling the election center at 641-754-6302 or visiting the center at 107 First Avenue, Marshalltown.

Early, absentee and mail-in voting are a boon this election season.

COVID-19 has many voters using different methods to cast their ballots safely this season. Marshall County commissioner of elections Nan Benson and elections assistant Blaze Wurr are seeing voting numbers which easily trump the 2016 general election. But with the increase in mail-in requests they are seeing some uptick in lost ballots.

“It does occasionally happen. Because of the influx of all the request forms going out I think you’re seeing it a little more,” Wurr said. “They have plenty of time to get it fixed still. That’s the good thing about it.”

Benson advised if a person’s mail-in ballot does not arrive after seven business days you should submit a voter statement for a lost or never received absentee ballot. You may also call the county election line at 641-754-6302.

Benson said often the ballots she is seeing returned without reaching voters have not been addressed correctly.

For voters spending election season away from home, it is important to note ballots do not get forwarded in the mail. If you are having mail forwarded to another address, a ballot will still be delivered to your residential address.

You are still allowed to vote in person if you have requested a mail-in ballot. If you receive the mail-in ballot but decide to vote in person you can surrender the mail-in ballot at the polls or mark it “Did not vote” and return it.

“That way if it gets returned and it’s sealed and everything looks like they voted, that might be perceived that they voted twice,” Wurr said. “That could be a felony.”

“There’s always fail safes for a person to come and vote if they did not get that one,” he continued. “If we never received the ballot we void it here and tell them to vote out at the polls.”

The Marshalltown polling center, located at 107 First Avenue, has had a steady stream of voters turning out since the polls opened.

“Compared to 2016, I’m pretty sure we’re double what we had done by this time,” Wurr said.

“People are turning out, which is exciting,” Benson added.

On Friday, Wurr counted 8,428 ballot requests and 5,372 have been received. He said about 9,800 total absentee ballots were requested for the 2016 presidential election.

“Then it was 45 days of voting instead of the 29 day window that we have now,” he said. “It’s been really interesting to see. Everything’s been coming in earlier and faster than it did in the past.”


For questions and concerns about voting and absentee ballots, contact the Marshall County Election Center at 641-754-6302.


Contact Joe Fisher at 641-753-6611

or jfisher@timesrepublican.com


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