Some absentee ballots arrive without postmarks - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Some absentee ballots arrive without postmarks

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Patricia Zebrowski makes trips to post offices in Iowa City every few weeks.

"Letters," said Zebrowski, who lives in Iowa City. "I don't mail bills -- I do most of that online -- but letters and cards and a lot of packages."

Having a postmark on those things isn't a necessity, but when she needs one, she hopes it's there.

"When things are time sensitive, you have to have a postmark on it, and so that's really essential," said Zebrowski.

It seems not every piece of mail is getting that important postmark.

Multiple ballots for Tuesday's school board elections arrived at the Johnson County auditor's office without them, in fact -- a problem auditors in Iowa say has been happening now for several elections.

"It's just been an ongoing issue," said Travis Weipert, Johnson County auditor. "The more people that are voting absentee now, the more we're running into the problem."

Under state law, ballots need to be postmarked by the day before the election in order to be counted -- so ballots that have been coming in since the elections without postmarks don't count. Weipert says those ballots would not change the results of the races, however.

It's not just ballots that need to be sent by a specific date. So do your property tax payments and tax returns.

At Taxes Plus, most clients file electronically. For those that don't, they have a tip.

"If it's really important to get their and be postmarked by a certain date, we always tell them to mail it with a receipt -- get a receipt," said Marlene Perrin, Taxes Plus owner.

As for Zebrowski, she's had a few problems sending mail, but says those situations have been the exception and not the norm.

"Many more times things work out than not," said Zebrowski.

Officials with the United States Postal Service say they don't typically postmark business reply mail since there's no postage. They say election and ballot regulations vary from state to state. 

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