Early voting for the June 7 primary election began on Wednesday, as county auditors started mailing out absentee ballots requested by voters, and opened their offices for in-person early voting.
Democratic and Republican candidates will be the only ones on the primary ballot, because those two parties are the only ones that have major party status in Iowa. Any party whose candidate for president or governor gets at least 2 percent of the vote in a general election meets this party qualification. Libertarians gained major party status after their presidential candidate Gary Johnson won 3.8 percent of the vote in 2016, and lost it two years later when their candidate for governor, Jake Porter, only got 1.6 percent of the vote.
Because partisan primary elections are closed elections in Iowa, only registered Democrats will be able to vote for Democratic candidates and only registered Republicans can vote for their party’s candidates. The unregistered and those registered as No Party can register as either Democrat or Republican to vote in the primary through Monday, May 23 at 5 p.m. Democrats can also change their registration to Republican, and vice versa. People will also be able to register on Election Day.
Early voting in-person, where and when
In Johnson County early voting will take place at the auditor’s office in the county administration building in Iowa City (913 S Dubuque St), and there will also be a drive-through option at the Johnson County Health and Human Services Building parking ramp (855 S Dubuque St). Early voting hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, except on Monday, May 30, when the office will be closed for Memorial Day.
The office and the parking ramp will also be open for early voting from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 4, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 5. Early voting ends at 5 p.m. on Monday, June 6.
There will be four satellite voting locations in Johnson County on the weekend before Election Day. On Saturday, voters will be able to cast ballots from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Coralville Public Library (1401 5th St), and at the North Liberty Community Library (520 W. Cherry St) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On Sunday, June 5, there will be satellite voting in Iowa City at Dream City (611 Southgate Ave) and the Iowa City Public Library (123 S Linn St). Voting hours at Dream City will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Linn County Auditor’s Office in Cedar Rapids (935 Second St SW) will be open for in-person early voting on weekdays through Monday, June 6, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m, except for Memorial Day, when hours will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Weekend voting hours will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.., except for Saturday, June 4, when the office will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Linn County doesn’t have a drive-through option and will not have any satellite locations for early voting in the primary. Because of the voting restriction Gov. Reynolds signed into law last year, county auditors can no longer select a satellite voting site. Satellite locations can now only be set up in response to a petition signed by 100 registered voters.
Early voting by mail
It is still possible to request a mail-in ballot for the June 7 primary, but time is running short. Absentee ballot request forms must be received in the auditor’s office by 5 p.m. on Monday, May 23.
Completed absentee ballots can be mailed to the auditor’s office, returned to the office in person or put in the designated ballot dropboxes. Because of the voting restrictions enacted last year, every county is now limited to one dropbox adjacent to the auditor’s office. Johnson County voters can find their dropbox on the south side of the Johnson County Administration Building, and in Linn County, the dropbox is located outside the Jean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center.
An absentee ballot must be in the dropbox or received in the auditor’s office by the end of voting on Election Day in order to be counted.
Whether you are voting early or waiting until Election Day, you will need to show your Iowa driver’s license or one of the following forms of ID.
• Iowa Non-Operator ID
• Iowa Voter Identification Card
• U.S. Military ID or Veteran ID
• U.S. Passport
• Tribal ID Card/Document
If a voter doesn’t have one of the acceptable forms of ID, another registered voter who does can attest to the ID-less voter’s identity. The voter without ID can then cast a provisional ballot.
Questions about voting
Anyone with questions about voting, early or otherwise, should call their county auditor’s office for answers. In Johnson County, the number is 319-356-6004 (select 2 on the automated menu for election information) and in Linn County it is 319-892-5300.