Iowa early voting begins next week

October 4, 2018


SIOUX CITY -- It is shorter than in recent years, but early voting is about to begin in Iowa.

Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill, the top county elections official, on Tuesday pointed to the start of the early voting process on October 8. That is the first day absentee ballots can be mailed or voted in the auditor’s office for domestic voters.

Gill spoke to the Journal outside a planned afternoon press conference, and said Woodbury County will send out a notification mailing on October 9 letting people know about the voting timeline. That mailing includes a form to request an early ballot, which people can return if they want to undertake that step.

October 22 is the so-called worry-free postmark date, the day by which mailed voter registration forms which are postmarked are considered on time to be pre-registered for the election, even if they are received after pre-registration deadline.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail is 5 p.m. October 27, while the deadline to request and vote an absentee ballot in person at the auditor’s office is November 5.

Gill said Woodbury County residents over the last decade have shown they like the early voting option in advance of Election Day, which this year is November 6. He said 2,000 people have already requested an early ballot.

“About half the people vote early. I want more people to do it, because it lessens the odds” of an Election Day snafu, Gill said.

A divided Iowa Supreme Court in August halted some provisions of the state’s new identity verification requirements for voters casting absentee ballots, but let stand a 2017 change that reduced the number of days allowed for early voting from 40 to 29 for the November general election.

Gill said people in recent years got used to the calendar of voting 40 days out, so this year have questioned the change.

He also said there was a problem with voting materials recently sent out in Linn County, so people should take a moment to be certain the materials they are completing are accurate.

Early voting began in South Dakota on September 21, and will begin in Nebraska in October 7.

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