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Center Point - Urbana & Linn-Mar School District Special Elections

Contact Information:

FAQs about Elections

Contents

  1. 1 General Information
    1. 1.1 Where is your office located at?
    2. 1.2 What is your mailing address?
    3. 1.3 How do I find my polling place?
    4. 1.4 How do I find a sample a ballot for the current election?
    5. 1.5 Who are my government representatives?
    6. 1.6 Does your office have precinct maps?
  2. 2 Voter Registration
    1. 2.1 How do I register to vote?
    2. 2.2 What is the pre-registration deadline?
    3. 2.3 How do I determine my residence for voter registration purposes?
    4. 2.4 I've lost my voter registration card. How do I get it replaced?
    5. 2.5 If I am already registered to vote, do I have to register again before each election?
    6. 2.6 I am retired and spend time at my vacation home during the winters. Can I still vote in Linn County?
    7. 2.7 I am a student at a college outside of Linn County. Can I still vote in Linn County?
    8. 2.8 Can someone with the power of attorney sign a voter registration form on a voter's behalf?
    9. 2.9 Do I have to vote according to the party affiliation on my voter registration?
    10. 2.10 Is my voter registration record information considered public information?
    11. 2.11 Can the status of my voter registration change?
  3. 3 Absentee Ballots
    1. 3.1 How do I request an absentee ballot?
    2. 3.2 Do I need to get my request for an absentee ballot notarized or witnessed?
    3. 3.3 Can someone with the power of attorney request an absentee ballot on a voter's behalf?
    4. 3.4 Does Iowa have permanent absentee voting?
    5. 3.5 How do I mark my ballot?
    6. 3.6 If I need assistance while voting my absentee ballot, can someone assist me?
    7. 3.7 What can I do if I make a mistake when voting my ballot?
    8. 3.8 What should I do if I requested an absentee ballot but I have not received it?
    9. 3.9 What can I do if my absentee ballot was damaged?
    10. 3.10 What can I do if I lost my absentee ballot?
    11. 3.11 If a voter casts an absentee ballot but dies before Election Day, is the ballot counted?
    12. 3.12 I've heard that absentee ballots are only counted if they will affect the outcome of the election. Is this true?
  4. 4 Election Day Registration
    1. 4.1 I missed the pre-registration cutoff date, now what do I do? 
    2. 4.2 Do I need any special information register by the Election Day Registration process? 
      1. 4.2.1 Proof of ID
      2. 4.2.2 Proof of Residence
    3. 4.3 Can I use the Election Day Registration process at your office and then go to the polls on Election Day?
    4. 4.4 Can I use the Election Day Registration process at your office and have an absentee ballot be mailed to me?
  5. 5 Change of Address
    1. 5.1 How do I change my address before an election?
  6. 6 Election Types
    1. 6.1 What types of elections are held in Linn County?
    2. 6.2 Is the Linn County Elections Office responsible for the caucus?
    3. 6.3 Why can’t I vote in a Primary Election if I am an Independent?
    4. 6.4 Does Linn County have instant runoff elections?
    5. 6.5 Does Linn County have recall elections?

General Information


Where is your office located at?

Our office is at the Public Service Center at 935 2nd Street Southwest in Cedar Rapids.

What is your mailing address?

Our mailing address is Linn County Election Services, 935 2nd St SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404-2100.

How do I find my polling place?

Your polling place is determined by your residential address. You may find your polling place by using our Elections Look-up Tool.

How do I find a sample a ballot for the current election?

Your residential address determines what ballot you will receive. You may find your sample ballot by using our Elections Look-up Tool.

The Linn County Election Services office has the sample ballots set up in this manner so the data is easy to find and less confusing for our users. Sample ballot styles can vary in number by the complexity of the election.

Who are my government representatives?

You may find your representatives by using our Elections Look-up Tool. Your representatives are determined by your residential address.

Does your office have precinct maps?

Yes.

Our office has a variety of Election based maps online and printed maps at our office. Please click here to be directed to Election Maps portion of our website.

Voter Registration


How do I register to vote?

You may register in person at our office, by mail, at the  IDOT Cedar Rapids driver's license station or any city hall in Linn County.

Registrants must complete an Official Iowa Voter Registration form.

Our location and mailing address is: 935 2nd St SW, Cedar Rapids, IA  52404.

 

What is the pre-registration deadline?

After this date, individuals wanting to register will need to complete Election Day Registration at our office when voting absentee or at their polling place on Election Day.

More information on Election Day Registration can be found here.


How do I determine my residence for voter registration purposes?

A residence for voting purposes is where the voter's home is located. A business or any other non-residential property cannot be used for voter registration purposes unless that place is a primary, nighttime residence for the voter. Homeless people are residents of the place where they usually sleep.

The voter can only declare one residence for voter registration purposes. There is no restriction on how long a voter has to live somewhere before it can become a residence for voting purposes.

The Iowa Code does allow a voter's registration to be challenged for the reason that the voter is not a resident at the address where the voter is registered to vote.


I've lost my voter registration card. How do I get it replaced?

Our office can mail a replacement voter registration card to you.  Voter registration cards must be mailed. You may not pick up your registration card at the Auditor's Office. You may request a duplicate voter registration card over the phone (319-892-5300) or online.


If I am already registered to vote, do I have to register again before each election?

No.

Once you have registered to vote, you do not have to register before each election, unless you move to a new county in Iowa or new State.  Voter registration is not transferable across county jurisdictions.

If you have moved or changed your name, you must update your voter registration. You may update your voter registration by completing a voter registration form and mailing it to our office.

To verify your voter registration, visit Am I Registered to Vote in Iowa?


I am retired and spend time at my vacation home during the winters. Can I still vote in Linn County?

I am a student at a college outside of Linn County. Can I still vote in Linn County?

Yes.

Iowans who are temporarily away from their homes do not lose residency for voting purposes. As long as a voter does not register in more than one place, the voter's registration status will remain as it is.

Click here to download the absentee ballot request form.

Click here for examples on how to fill out the form for this situation.

Our mailing address is Linn County Election Services, PO BOX 1328, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-1328.


Can someone with the power of attorney sign a voter registration form on a voter's behalf?

No.

An individual who has power of attorney does not have the authority to sign a voter registration form, request an absentee ballot, or cast an absentee ballot on behalf of the voter. If a voter is unable to sign, the voter can use a stamp or make a mark to sign. The voter may also ask for assistance and have someone sign the form on the voter's behalf as long as it is done in the voter's presence and with the voter's permission.


Do I have to vote according to the party affiliation on my voter registration?

No.

Ballots are secret and voters have the right to vote for any candidate they want.

The only time that party affiliation is important in terms of voting is in the case of a political party caucus or a primary election. In those cases, voters must be registered with the political party whose caucus or primary they wish to participate in. Voters have the right to change their affiliation and then participate in the caucus or primary election on, or prior to,  the day those events are being held. Voters can only participate in one party's caucus or primary election each time those events take place.


Is my voter registration record information considered public information?

Yes. However, your record can only be viewed or obtained by others for specific purposes outlined below.

Voter registration records are public records as defined by Chapter 22 of the Code of Iowa. The records must be available for public inspection at reasonable times (§48A.34). Iowa law does not allow for a voter's registration record to be made private.

Iowa law allows for the purchase of voter registration lists (See Iowa Code section 48A.38.) Requests can be made at our office or online. Both the Secretary of State's Office and county auditors are required to maintain a log containing the name, address, and telephone number of every person who receives voter registration information.

A voter's Social Security number, driver's license number, non-operator ID number, and the name of an individual agency where a voter registration form was completed are confidential information and are never given to anyone requesting voter lists.

Information from voter registration records can only be used:

  • To request a registrant's vote at an election,

  • For a genuine political purpose,

  • For bona fide political research,

  • For a bona fide official purpose by an elected official

Using the information for any commercial purpose is a serious misdemeanor under Iowa law.


Can the status of my voter registration change?

Yes.

Your voter registration status may change if the County Auditor's Office tried to contact you by mail and the piece of mail was returned undeliverable by the U.S. post office.

Also, voter records may be cancelled if the voter no longer meets the qualifications to vote. For more information on voter registration qualifications, see Voter Registration information.

Absentee Ballots


How do I request an absentee ballot?

You may request an absentee ballot at our office or by mail.

An absentee ballot request form should be completed and sent in to our office if the voter wishes to receive an absentee ballot.

Voters must complete a request for an absentee ballot for each election for which they would like an absentee ballot.

Our location and mailing address is: 935 2nd Street SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.

What is the last day I can request an absentee ballot to be mailed to me?


The last day our office can mail out a ballot is the Friday before Election Day. All absentee requests for mailed ballots need to be in our office by 5:00 PM on the Friday before Election Day.

After this date, voters wanting to vote absentee must do so in-person at the Auditor's Office on the Monday before the election.

Do I need to get my request for an absentee ballot notarized or witnessed?


No.

Absentee ballot requests do not need to be notarized or witnessed in Iowa.

Can someone with the power of attorney request an absentee ballot on a voter's behalf?


No.

An individual who has power of attorney does not have the authority to sign a voter registration form, request an absentee ballot, or cast an absentee ballot on behalf of the voter. If a voter is unable to sign, the voter can use a stamp or make a mark to sign. The voter may also ask for assistance and have someone sign the form on the voter's behalf as long as it is done in the voter's presence and with the voter's permission.

Does Iowa have permanent absentee voting?


No.

Iowa does not have permanent absentee voting. Voters must complete a request for an absentee ballot for each election for which they would like an absentee ballot. 


How do I mark my ballot?


Instructions are provided with your absentee ballots on how to mark your ballot and return your ballot. Follow the instructions provided.

Marking your Ballot:

Use only the following marking device(s): Black or Blue Pen.

Best Practice: 

    • You can use pencils but it is best to use a black or blue pen

    • Do not use markers. The markers tend bleed thru the paper and ruin the ballot.

    • Do not use other color pens except for blue or black ink.

      • Why? The voting equipment will not read all color of pens. It is best to use black or blue ink pens.

Fill in each oval completely next to your choice. Do not use an X or a check mark. Ballots that are not marked correctly cannot be counted.



Each office title lists the number of candidates you may vote for. Do not mark more ovals than that number. You may choose to vote for fewer candidates, or you may skip any race.


If you mark too many ovals in a race, votes for that race cannot be counted. The other correctly marked races will be counted.


Do not erase, cross out mistakes, or make any mark that would identify your ballot later. If you make a mistake, place all voting materials in the return envelope. Write “SPOILED BALLOT” on the return envelope. Mail or deliver the envelope to the County Auditor and request a replacement ballot.


To cast a write-in vote for a person whose name is not on the ballot, write the name on the line below the candidates’ names and fill in the oval in front of the name.

If I need assistance while voting my absentee ballot, can someone assist me?


Yes.


If you need help marking your ballot due to a physical disability or inability to read the ballot, you may choose any person to help you except your employer, your employer's agent, or an officer/agent of your union.


If you are not physically able to sign the forms, you can use a stamp or make a mark to sign. You may also ask for assistance or have someone sign the form on your behalf as long as it is in your presence and with your permission.

What can I do if I make a mistake when voting my ballot?


There are also procedures for "spoiling" mailed absentee ballots that are sent with your absentee ballot.


If you make a mistake, place all voting materials in the return envelope. Write “SPOILED BALLOT” on the return envelope. Mail or deliver the envelope to the County Auditor and request a replacement ballot.

What should I do if I requested an absentee ballot but I have not received it?

You can track your absentee ballot online by using the Track Your Absentee Ballot search. You can see the date your absentee ballot request was processed by our office, the date the office sent your ballot, and the date the office received your voted ballot.

Also you may call the Linn County Elections Office. Our phone number is 319-892-5300. There are procedures for obtaining a reissued ballot.

What can I do if my absentee ballot was damaged?

What can I do if I lost my absentee ballot?


Call the Linn County Elections Office. Our phone number is 319-892-5300. There are procedures for obtaining a replacement ballot.

If a voter casts an absentee ballot but dies before Election Day, is the ballot counted?


No.


Iowa law prohibits these ballots from being counted if our office is notified of the death before absentee ballots are considered.

I've heard that absentee ballots are only counted if they will affect the outcome of the election. Is this true?


No.


In Iowa, all absentee ballots that are received on time are considered for counting. Absentee ballots received by Election Day are counted on Election Day. Ballots received after Election Day but before the deadline are counted when the absentee and special voters' precinct board meets as long as they are postmarked the day before Election Day or earlier.


Election Day Registration



I missed the pre-registration cutoff date, now what do I do? 

Do I need any special information register by the Election Day Registration process? 


An individual may register and vote on Election Day at his/her correct polling place.

It is always best to check at www.linncountyelections.org/lookup .


At the polling place, you must prove both identity (who you are) and residency (where you live). The best way to do this is with a valid Iowa driver’s license with a current address printed on it.

Proof of ID

If you do not have an Iowa driver’s license, you may use a photo ID that is current, valid, and contains an expiration date. The following are acceptable IDs:

  • Iowa non-driver ID card

  • Out-of-state driver's license or non-driver ID card

  • U.S. passport

  • U.S. military ID

  • ID card issued by employer

  • Student ID issued by Iowa high school or college

Proof of Residence

If your photo ID does not contain your current address, you may use another document to prove where you live if it contains your name and current address. The following are acceptable proofs of residence:

  • Residential lease

  • Utility bill (including a cell phone bill)

  • Bank statement

  • Paycheck

  • Government check or other government document

Attester


If you cannot prove who you are and where you live with the documents listed above, a registered voter from your precinct may attest for you. Both you and the attester will be required to sign an oath swearing the statements being made are true.  


Falsely attesting or being attested for is registration fraud. It is a class “D” felony and is punishable by a fine of up to $7,500 and up to 5 years in prison

Can I use the Election Day Registration process at your office and then go to the polls on Election Day?

Can I use the Election Day Registration process at your office and have an absentee ballot be mailed to me?


No.


Individuals wanting to use the Election Day Registration process must vote immediately at the time of registration.


Can I use the Election Day Registration process and vote at your office? 


Yes.


Change of Address


How do I change my address before an election?


Before the end of voter pre-registration:


Linn County registered voters may change their address without any proof of residency.


After the end of voter pre-registration:


Linn County registered voters will need to have proper proof of residency to update their address if it is outside their previous precinct.


Linn County registered voters who move within their precinct do not need to provide proof of residency.


The best way to prove residency when making a change of address is with a valid Iowa driver’s license with a current address printed on it.

The following are acceptable proofs of residence:

  • Non-expired photo ID (this may list a previous address)

  • Utility bill (including a cell phone bill)
  • Bank statement

  • Paycheck

  • Government check or other government document

Attester

If you cannot prove where you live with the documents listed above, a registered voter from your precinct may attest for you. Both you and the attester will be required to sign an oath swearing the statements being made are true.

Falsely attesting or being attested for is registration fraud. It is a class “D” felony and is punishable by a fine of up to $7,500 and up to 5 years in prison

Election Types


What types of elections are held in Linn County?

The county has a variety of elections in a four-year cycle.

Those elections are:

Primary Elections: These elections take place on even number years and the election is countywide. In the state of Iowa, the Primary Elections are “closed primaries” which means a voter wishing to participate will need to declare a party to vote the party’s primary ballot. Typically, there is only the Democratic and Republican Party ballots for the Primary Elections. There have been Primary Elections where additional parties have been added.

General Elections: General Elections are held on even number years and the election is countywide. There are two types of General Elections, Presidential General Elections and Gubernatorial Elections. Presidential General Elections are held to elect the President of the United States on the first Tuesday followed by the first Monday in November every four years (2004, 2008 for example). Gubernatorial Elections are held to elect the Governor of Iowa in on the first Tuesday followed by the first Monday in November every four years (2006, 2010 for example). It is common for other Federal, State and County Offices, Township positions, a Judicial Ballot and public measures to be on the General Election ballot.

City Elections: City elections are held on odd number years and only incorporated cities have city elections. Depending on the city and the form city government, positions on the city election ballot will vary. Registered voters who reside in the city are allowed to participate in this election. City elections are held on the first Tuesday followed by the first Monday in November every two years.

School Elections: School Elections are held on odd number years. Depending on the school district and the form of the school board, positions on the school election ballot will vary. Registered voters who reside in the school district are allowed to participate in this election. School elections are held in September every two years.

Special Elections:
Special Elections can be held on specific dates set by the Iowa Secretary of State during a calendar year. Special elections can be used to fill vacancies and to vote on public measures on a State, County, City or School District level. Common special elections in Linn County are Local Option Sales and Services Tax, School Bond and Revenue Purpose Statements and to fill vacancies.


Is the Linn County Elections Office responsible for the caucus?

No.

The parties participating in the caucus are responsible for setting locations, staff and materials.

The Elections Office is simply the custodian of paperwork received from the political parties.


Why can’t I vote in a Primary Election if I am an Independent?

In the state of Iowa, the Primary Elections are “closed primaries” which means a voter wishing to participate will need to declare a party to vote the party’s primary ballot. Typically, there is only the Democratic and Republican Party ballots for the Primary Elections.


Does Linn County have instant runoff elections?

Currently in the state of Iowa, instant runoff elections are not allowed.  It is best to contact your legislator if you wish have this added to the State Code. You may find your state legislator online at www.linncountyelections.org/lookup.


Does Linn County have recall elections?

Currently in the state of Iowa, recall elections are not allowed.  It is best to contact your legislator if you wish have this added to the State Code. You may find your state legislator online at www.linncountyelections.org/lookup.

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