Auditor explains new voting requirements

With Absentee voting for the Nov. 6 general election beginning this week, Washington County Auditor and election official Dan Widmer reminds people of the need for an ID when coming to vote.

While 2018 is being termed a “soft rollout” of the new requirements for identification when voting, Widmer said poll officials would be checking for ID. This time a voter who does not have an ID can sign a form swearing they are who they say they are. Widmer said the preferred ID for people is a driver’s license or official ID.

Widmer explained Monday was the first day for absentee voting in the auditor’s office and also the first day absentee ballots can be mailed from the office to people who have already requested them. To vote in the general election people can visit the auditor’s office with an ID to get a ballot.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot be mailed is Saturday, Oct. 27. Widmer said to request a ballot be mailed, the voter must fill out an absentee ballot request form which can be mailed to the auditor’s office. He said a hard copy of the request form along with a signature is required to receive a ballot.

“The most important thing is a signature,” Widmer said. “We need to have that before we can send out a ballot. You can’t just phone in and ask us to send one.”

Requests for absentee ballots are available at the auditor’s office or can be downloaded at the Iowa Secrtetary of State’s website. Widmer commented that downloading the document would be the fastest way to have a ballot sent. He said ballots are usually mailed the same day a request is received. The auditor’s office can also mail people a request form. In order for the absentee ballot to be counted, it must be postmarked no later than Nov. 5.

Widmer also commented there will be some extended hours during this election season. He said the auditor’s office would be open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.on Saturday, Oct. 27, and Saturday, Nov. 3. The office also will be open until 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, and Monday, Nov. 5.

People wishing to check if they are registered to vote can call the auditor’s office at 319-653-7715 or go online to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office.