Any registered voter in Iowa may request to vote their ballot absentee. Absentee is the term used to describe any ballot that is not voted at the polls on Election Day.
There are several ways to vote absentee:
- To vote absentee by mail you must complete a request form. You may contact the Auditor’s Office to request that a form be sent to you. When filling out the form, please be sure to include the date the request is signed. Once completed, please return the form to the Buena Vista County Auditor's Office, 215 E. 5th, P.O. Box 220, Storm Lake, Iowa 50588. Printable absentee ballot request forms are also available from the Secretary of State.
- To be sent an absentee ballot by mail, the Auditor’s Office must receive your Absentee Ballot Request form by 5 pm on the Monday 15 days before the election.
- In-person absentee voting is available in the Auditor’s Office during regular business hours (8 am - 4:30 pm). The deadline for in-person absentee is 5 pm on the Monday before the election. However, if polls do not open until Noon (12:00 pm) on Election Day, you may vote absentee in the Auditor’s Office up until 11:00 am on Election Day
- Additionally, during General Elections absentee voting may be made available at various satellite locations in Buena Vista County. Please contact the Auditor’s Office to see if there are any satellite locations scheduled. Satellite voting locations are established by a public petition with a minimum of 100 signatures.
Absentee ballots returned by mail to the Auditor’s Office must be received by 8:00 pm on Election Day in order to be counted.*
Instructions on how to vote your absentee ballot will be included with your ballot.
*Two exceptions: Ballots from individuals participating in the Safe at Home program will be eligible for counting if postmarked or barcoded before election day and received in the Secretary of State’s Office in time to be transmitted to the appropriate county auditor not later than noon on the Monday following the election. Ballots from uniformed and overseas citizens will be eligible for counting if postmarked or barcoded before election day and received no later than noon on the Monday following the election.
Download an Absentee Ballot Request Form
Complete the Absentee Ballot Request Form and send it to:
Buena Vista County Auditor's Office
215 E. 5th
P.O. Box 220
Storm Lake, Iowa 50588
Students from Buena Vista County have several options when it comes to voting:
- College students may choose to keep their Buena Vista County address and either return home to vote in-person on Election Day, vote a Buena Vista County ballot by mail, or vote in-person absentee at the Auditor’s Office.
- Students may also choose to register in their new state or county and cast a ballot in that jurisdiction. Students should contact their new local election officials for more information.
Health Care Facility Residents
Under Iowa law, the County Auditor must send a bipartisan team of election officials to hand-deliver ballots to residents of health care facilities, assist in the voting of the residents, and return the ballots safely to the Auditor’s Office where they are securely stored until they are counted. Voting at health care facilities is often coordinated through the activities department at each facility so please check with the staff to obtain a ballot request form to be brought a ballot.
Voters who are admitted to a hospital or health care facility in the last 14 days leading up to an election may request an absentee ballot no later than 4:00 pm on Election Day. Please contact the Auditor’s Office immediately if you are hospitalized and would like to vote.