It’s an American tradition: On the Tuesday after the first Monday of November, when there is an election of local, state and federal level, United States citizens are asked to participate in the democratic process and cast their vote for the candidate of their choice.
However, not all votes are cast on that tremendously important day in Nov. Indeed, if you have checked your mailbox, you may have already received a request form for an official absentee ballot. There’s also the option of early/absentee voting of which people can take advantage.
“In Iowa, the law allows us to start early voting forty days before the election,” said Denise Dolan, the Dubuque County auditor and commissioner of elections.
Dolan also made mention of the places that you could go for early voting, which include the Auditor’s Office, the Election Annex located at 707 Central Ave. and satellite sites, which include the Hy-Vee on Dodge Street and the University of Dubuque.
In regards to the Annex, which is across the street from the Auditor’s Office in the Courthouse, two employees who wished to remain anonymous for this story were helping people with the process. It was confirmed that the Annex is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Demographic-wise, there didn’t seem one outstanding age group that did more early voting. “I think it’s a broad spectrum of everybody, really,” said one employee, but she did guess that there are a few more elderly voters coming in for early voting.
In addition to early/absentee voting options, Iowa boasts one electoral advantage: same day registration. According to a page on the Iowa Secretary of State website, “You may register and vote on election day. To do so, you first must go to the correct polling place for your current address on election day.” To register, the website stated two requirements: proof of ID, such as a driver’s license, or other form of photo ID, such as an Iowa high school or college student ID; and proof of residence, which can be found on your photo ID or otherwise verified by documents like a utility bill or a bank statement.
One of the employees at the Annex noted that most of the people who come in to vote are already registered to do so.
At the Annex, it’s normally open
Monday through Friday, but one of the employees said that the Annex will also be open on Oct. 25 and Nov. 1, both of which are on a Saturday.
With early and absentee voting, Dolan said she doesn’t know whether her office has seen an increase in overall voter turnout, but that there’s been an increase in people taking advantage of early voting.
Talking about voting in general, Dolan noted, “I think it’s a right that we have here in the United States that other countries don’t have. We’ve seen people in other countries fight to be able to be allowed to vote, and cast a democratic vote. In some cases, I wish that people in the United States would take it as seriously as people in other countries do.”
This year, for the midterm elections, Election Day is Nov. 4. If anyone would like to vote, there are a number of options that will allow your voice to be heard. In any case, get out and vote.