IOWA: SECURE VOTE BY MAIL ELECTIONS IN 2020

A GUIDE TO BEST PRACTICES FOR IOWA ELECTIONS OFFICIALS

ABOUT THIS RESOURCE

Sightline’s state-by-state guides are designed to give local election officials and legislators the information they need to identify and take the most important steps to get ready for November. Each set of state-specific resources includes best practices and established models from around the country, including practical nuts and bolts advice for clerks, materials from election administrators with experience conducting all mail elections, and information about vendors and costs.

How IOWA is prepared for Vote By Mail

  • Provides a postage-prepaid return envelope for mailed ballots.
  • Allows any voter to request an absentee ballot.
  • Is a member of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).
  • Uses voters’ signatures to verify ballots.
  • Allows early in-person voting starting 29 days before Election Day.
  • Allows voters to register online.

RECOMMENDED STEPS FOR SECURE ELECTIONS

Within each section, recommendations are arranged roughly in order of importance and ease of implementation.

For Local Election Officials
  • Coordinate with USPS.
  • Design ballots and envelopes that are easy to use.
  • Implement robust signature verification.
  • Provide secure drop boxes.
  • Provide election day voting centers for in-person voting.
  • Consider using a professional printer and sorter.
  • Count ballots at a centralized, secure facility.
  • Invest in high-speed centralized equipment.
FOR SECRETARIES OF STATE
  • Use a comprehensive system to track ballots.
  • Mail absentee application forms to every registered voter.
For Lawmakers
  • Account for voters with non-traditional addresses.
  • Give voters a “single sign-up” option to permanently receive mailed-out ballots.
  • Allow counties to accept ballots postmarked on election day.
  • Allow voters to request an absentee ballot online.
  • Allow voters to request a replacement ballot online.
  • Allow community organizations to help collect and deliver voted, sealed ballots.
  • Automatically register voters and update their addresses.

Download the full Iowa action packet, with detailed information for each recommendation.

Iowa's Grade for Vote By Mail preparedness = B

Our grading system: We evaluated each state on 16 factors, covering access, administration efficiency, security, and infrastructure.

 

 

Contact us

We welcome your questions and feedback. Email Kristin Eberhard, director of Sightline’s Democracy research program.