Hundreds of absentee voters are failing to sign the affidavit that is printed on their absentee ballot envelope, says Black Hawk County Elections Manager Kyle Jensson. And an unsigned envelope means the ballot won’t count.
Jensson says the process for returning voted absentee ballots has been simplified. “Voters used to have to write their address, their signature and the date. Now they just have to sign by the big X. And there’s an arrow next to it saying “Don’t forget to sign.” But there are still significant numbers of voters who miss the instructions. “So we bought a rubber stamp that says “Signature Required” and we’re stamping the envelopes in two places.”
Due to a new law, the signature is on the outside envelope instead of on an inner envelope that wasn’t seen until the ballots were opened on Election Day. This means that Election Office staff can see immediately whether the affidavit is signed or not, and voters are contacted by mail if the signature is missing. But then either the voter is inconvenienced by going to the courthouse to sign the envelope, or the county must send a new ballot, incurring more postage, ballot cost, and administrative distraction.

“Sign and seal the ballot envelope and all this trouble can be avoided,” says Jensson.
For questions, contact the Election Office at 319-833-3007 or elections@co.black-hawk.ia.us.