Early voting: Weekend hours, free rides, no free pizza

Cars in line for early voting at the Johnson County Health and Human Services Building parking ramp, Oct. 5, 2020. — Paul Brennan/Little Village

Johnson County had its biggest day so far at its drive-through early voting site on Thursday, with 808 ballots cast, Auditor Travis Weipert tweeted on Friday morning. The county is less 2,000 votes away from breaking the record set in 2016, when 16,461 people voted early.

Early voting continues through Monday in Iowa. The drive-through site in Johnson County at the parking ramp of the Johnson County Human Services Building in Iowa City (855 S Dubuque St) will be open again this weekend, in addition to its regular hours on Friday and Monday.

Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Monday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The satellite voting location at the Iowa City Public Library will also be open on Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In Linn County the drive-through early voting site near the Jean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center in Cedar Rapids (823 3rd St SW) is adding hours on Saturday.

Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Anyone wanting to mail in an absentee ballot needs to make sure it is postmarked by Monday, Nov. 2. To be valid, absentee ballots postmarked before or by Monday must be received by the auditor’s office by noon on Monday, Nov. 9.

Those who don’t want to entrust their absentee ballot to postal system can drop them off in the secure drop boxes provided the auditor’s office. Johnson County has two drop boxes located on the south side of the Johnson County Administration Building. The drop box in Linn County is at the drive-through early voting site. Absentee ballots must be in a drop box by the time polls close at 9 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3, in order to be valid.

The drop box set up outside the Jean Oxley Public Service Center in Cedar Rapids. Aug. 26, 2020. — Izabela Zaluska/Little Village

Free rides to the polls but no free pizza

Helping people get to a voting site isn’t illegal, but offering them anything of value in exchange for voting is. Even when it’s pizza, according to Linn County Auditor Joel Miller.

On Thursday, Miller tweeted that he’d told a group that was planning to provide free pizza to voters and poll workers to “cease & desist.”

Advocates for Social Justice (ASJ) has been offering Uber vouchers to Linn County residents needs help getting to a voting location since early voting began on Oct. 5. On Wednesday, the group announced it was partnering with Democracy Defenders Iowa to was expand the Uber voucher program to help voters anywhere in Iowa. ASJ is also offering childcare reimbursement to make it easier for parents to vote. The group is asking parents to message them a receipt through Facebook for up to six hours of childcare. The receipt can be handwritten.

Voters in Johnson County who need help getting to a voting location but don’t have a smartphone to download the Uber app can get a free cab ride through the Corridor Community Action Network (CCAN). To schedule a ride, call Iowa City Yellow Cab at 319-338-9777 and request a CCAN Voter Ride.

Voter ID

The voter ID law passed by the Iowa Legislature in 2017 is in effect for this election, so those who want to vote early in person should bring one of the following forms of identification to their voting site.

• Iowa Voter Identification Card
• Iowa Driver’s License
• Iowa Non-Operator ID
• 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 has ID can attest to the ID-less voter’s identity. The voter without ID can then cast a provisional ballot.

Anyone with questions about how or where to vote can contact their county auditor’s office. The Johnson County Auditor’s Office can be reached at 319-356-6004, and the phone number of the Linn County Auditor’s Office is 319-892-5300.

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