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VERIFY: If you've received multiple absentee ballot request forms in the mail, be sure to fill out just one

Local 5 reached out to the Iowa Secretary of State's Office and both political parties to find out why some are receiving more than one request in the mail.

DES MOINES, Iowa — A viewer named Kevin reached out to Local 5 to see why he received multiple absentee ballot request forms in the mail. 

The short answer: it's because of the coronavirus pandemic


Local 5 reached out to the Iowa Secretary of State's (SOS) office, as well as the Iowa Democratic Party and the Republican Party of Iowa.

Here's what we found

For the first time ever, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate sent absentee ballot request forms to all eligible voters in the state. Pate's office said they're doing that because of COVID-19. 

Voters might also receive forms from their county auditors in the upcoming weeks. 

The Iowa GOP and Iowa Democrats said they've been sending out forms too. 

“The Republican Party of Iowa, along with several other campaigns and organizations, have begun sending eligible voters across the state absentee ballot request forms," Iowa GOP spokesman Aaron Britt said in an emailed statement Wednesday. 

"For voters who want to vote absentee, we’re making it more convenient and easy for them to request a ballot -- as has been the case for many election cycles. It is important to note that sending absentee ballot *request* forms is not the same as universal vote-by-mail, which does not comply with Iowa law and comes with a higher risk of voter fraud. The Iowa GOP is committed to ensuring voters can vote easily, safely, and in compliance with Iowa law."

Iowa Democratic Party Communications Director Mandy McClure send Local 5 the following statement Wednesday:

"As we've done in previous elections, the Iowa Democratic Party will send absentee ballot request forms to registered voters and we encourage voters to return those requests quickly. During the global pandemic, it has never been more urgent to take action to expand access to voting. Iowa Democrats are focused on protecting public health and our United States Postal Service to ensure all Americans can safely exercise their right to vote."

What to do before you send in your request form

Before you send in your absentee ballot request form, make sure it's addressed to the county auditor before dropping it in the mail. 

Kevin also asked Local 5 if he needs to mail in all of the forms he's received. 

The answer to that is no.

Voters only have to submit one absentee ballot request form, according to Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald. 

Voters can find out when the SOS's office receives their request for an absentee ballot on the SOS's tracking website

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