Special Election FAQ: What you need to vote in the race for Johnson County Board of Supervisors

A sign sits outside of the State Hygienic Laboratory in Coralville, a polling place during the Iowa primary election, June 2, 2020. — Emma McClatchey/Little Village

Early voting in the June 8 special election is coming to end at 5 p.m. on Monday, and as of Sunday at 6 p.m. a total of 4,066 ballots had already been cast in the contest to fill the vacancy on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors created by the resignation of Supervisor Janelle Rettig. That far exceeds the number of absentee ballots cast in the last special election for the Board of Supervisor.

In the December 2018 special election, 2,623 absentee ballots were cast. Democrat Royceann Porter won that election in a landslide, with 56 percent of the vote.

As for the early vote in the June 8 election, voters registered as Democrats had cast 3,465 absentee ballots, or 85 percent of all the absentee ballots returned by 6 p.m. on Sunday. Registered Republicans accounted for 368 ballots, which was 9 percent of the total. Voters registered as No Party Preference had cast 227 ballots, or 5.6 percent of the ballots accounted for by the end of the day on Sunday.

Five voters registered as Green Party and one registered as a Libertarian had also cast ballots by Sunday.

To help voters with questions about where and when to vote on Election Day, and what they need to bring with them, Little Village has compiled an FAQ for the special election.

Q: When are polls open on Tuesday? (Also, where do I vote?)

A: Voting starts at 7 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m., although if you’re in line when the clock strikes 8, you will still be allowed to cast a ballot. People who typically vote in the evening will want to pay attention to the new closing time for polling places. This is first election under the new voting restrictions Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law, which requires voting to end at 8 p.m. instead of 9 p.m.

The early voting site at the Johnson County Administration Building will close at 5 p.m. on Monday. Voters on Tuesday will cast their ballots at their usual polling sites. Anyone unsure where to vote can check a list of polling places or use the online look-up tool provided by the Johnson County Auditor’s Office.

Q: What sort of ID do I need to vote?

A: The following types of ID are acceptable under the 2017 voter ID law.

• 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 you doesn’t have an ID, another registered voter with ID can attest to your identity. You’ll be able to cast a provisional ballot, and will be given instructions for what needs to be done to have that provisional ballot counted. The process must be completed by noon on Monday, June 14.

Q: I want to vote, but I’m not registered. What are my options?

A: Iowa has same-day registration, so any adult citizen who goes to the precinct that corresponds to their home address, and hasn’t been stripped of the right to vote by order of a judge or because they have not completed all court-imposed requirements following a felony conviction (or were convicted of an offense under Chapter 707 of Iowa Code) can register and immediately exercise the franchise.

To register on Election Day, you’ll need a valid Iowa driver’s license or one of the following forms of identification:

• Iowa non-driver ID card
• Out-of-state driver’s license or non-driver ID card
• U.S. passport
• U.S. military ID
• ID card issued by employer
• Student ID issued by Iowa high school or college
• Tribal ID

If your photo ID doesn’t have your current address, you’ll need to bring one of the following proofs of residence:

• Residential lease
• Utility bill (including a cell phone bill)
• Bank statement
• Paycheck
• Government check or other government document

Even if you don’t have an acceptable photo ID or proof of residence, you may still register to vote, provided you can persuade a friend who is already registered to vote to vouch for you. The ID-deficient person and the registered voter will both have to sign oaths, attesting to the identity and home address of the ID-deficient person.

If you’ve moved since the last time you’ve voted and you haven’t yet updated your voter registration with your new address, you can do that at your new polling place on Election Day. To update the address, you’ll need one of the photo IDs listed above. It’s OK if the ID has your old address, although if you’ve moved into a new voting precinct, you’ll also need one of the proofs of residence listed above.

Q: Is assistance available for voters with disabilities?

A: Yes. Each precinct should have two officials — a Democrat and a Republican — designated to assist voters with special needs. If the voter prefers to have someone other than the designated officials assist, that person will have to sign an Affidavit of Voter Requesting Assistance, according to the Iowa Secretary of State.

Curbside voting is also available for those unable to easily exit their vehicles. Once alerted to a voter requesting the curbside option, the two appointed precinct officials will bring a ballot to the voter.

Anyone with questions about assistance with voting should call the Johnson County Auditor’s Office, 319-356-6004.

Zak Neumann/Little Village

Q: Are the pandemic precautions from last November’s election still in place?

A: No, although poll workers will still encourage everyone to socially distance. Local mask mandates have been lifted, and a new state law prohibits local governments from requiring masks, unless the state government also requires them.

Poll workers will be encouraged to wear face coverings, just as a way of reassuring voters and trying to make voting as comfortable as possible as the pandemic continues.

Q: I’ve filled out the absentee ballot and want to use that instead of voting in person. What do I do?

A: Because of the new voting restriction passed this year, a mailed-in absentee ballot must be received in the auditor’s office by 8 p.m. on Tuesday to be counted. But there is still the option of depositing it in the drop box located on the south side of the Johnson County Administration Building at 913 S Dubuque St in Iowa City.

To be counted, absentee ballots must be in the drop boxes by the time the polls close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Only overseas and military mailed ballot, or ballots cast through the Secretary of State’s “Safe At Home” address confidentiality program for survivors of domestic abuse will be considered valid if they arrive at the auditor’s office after the polls close on Election Day.

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