Allamakee County Auditor explains choosing a party and returning a ballot for the Primary Election

This Friday is final day to submit Absentee Ballot Request Form

Allamakee County Auditor Denise Beyer wants to remind Allamakee County voters that there will only be three polling sites open for the June 2 Primary Election Day and continues to encourage everyone who wishes to vote in that Primary election to vote by mail. The Notice of Election and sample ballots for the election are printed in the Public Notice section of the May 20, 2020 edition of The Standard newspaper (Page 8A) for voting locations and other information.

Those who have not yet requested an Absentee Ballot are urged to visit or call the Auditor’s office at 563-568-3522 to obtain a request form. The deadline to submit an Absentee Ballot Request to the Auditor’s office for the June 2 Primary is this Friday, May 22 at 5 p.m.

Completed and signed Absentee Ballot Request forms should be mailed to Allamakee County Auditor, 110 Allamakee St, Waukon, IA 52172 no later than June 1. Remember, voters must declare either Democrat or Republican in order for the request form to be complete.

The Auditor’s office has had several Absentee Requests come in without having either Democrat or Republican marked. There have also been many questions about why voters are being “forced” to choose a party and if there is some way they can vote for candidates in both parties. The answer to those questions is as follows:

There are two different ballots (see Sample Ballots in the Public Notice section of this newspaper) for this election and voters are only allowed one ballot. The purpose of the Primary election is to nominate candidates for the Republican and Democrat parties who will be on the General election ballot in November. No one is elected at the Primary, they are nominated to represent their party in the General election.

The state of Iowa has a Closed Primary election process, so by law a voter must choose to either vote Republican or Democrat to help nominate the candidates for November. Choosing one party is only required for the Primary election. For all other elections, voters can vote for candidates in any and/or all parties that they wish.

One example of the purpose of the Primary is as follows: There are two Democratic and two Republican candidates for the office of County Supervisor. Only one from each party can be on the ballot in November because it is a “Vote for One” race, so the one Democrat and one Republican with the most votes at the Primary will be on the November ballot. Those who wish to vote for a Republican in one race and a Democrat in another race in the Primary will have to choose which one they want to vote for the most, and choose that party ballot for this Primary election.

As of Thursday, May 14 at noon, there have been 1,885 ballots requested and 823 returned. Auditor Beyer reminds voters it is very important to SIGN YOUR BALLOT ENVELOPE. The box is highlighted yellow and stamped “Signature Required”. Ballots cannot be counted unless the envelope is signed. The Auditor’s office will contact voters with options to correct the issue if their ballot is received without a signature. Since the time up to the election is getting shorter, the time to correct Incomplete/Defective ballots is also getting shorter.

Steps to follow when assembling a ballot for its return to the Auditor’s office:

1. Vote the ballot, fold it in half and put ballot in Secrecy envelope.
2. Put Secrecy envelope, containing ballot, into the Affidavit Return envelope and seal the Return envelope.
3. SIGN the Affidavit Return envelope where indicated.

Ballots can also be hand delivered to the Auditor’s office up through the close of election polls on Election Day. The last day to put a ballot in the mail is Monday, June 1. Make sure to get it to the post office before it closes June 1, so the ballot is entered into the U.S. Postal System as of June 1.

In-person absentee voting started May 4 and continues through Monday, June 1. The Auditor’s office asks that voters wear a mask and bring their own blue or black pen for virus mitigation, but some pens will be available.

There will be two options to vote in-person:

The first option is to vote curbside, from a parked vehicle. To curbside vote, park along the curb on the south side of the courthouse or in the nearby courthouse parking lot, call 563-568-3522, tell the staff where the occupied vehicle is parked and that the occupants wish to vote from their vehicle and someone will come to the vehicle.

The second option is to enter the south door of the courthouse and press the Ring doorbell located at/near the table in the hallway to talk to the Auditor’s office staff and they will assist in voting. In-person absentee voting continues until the close of business Monday, June 1.

For those who have been sick or have any symptoms of COVID-19 and/or have been recently tested for COVID-19 and do not yet know the results, it is asked that they stay home and vote by mail.  They should send in their request form now, as May 22 is the deadline to request a ballot by mail. For those who are hoping to vote at the polls and happen to get sick after May 22, their options are limited.

The Allamakee County Auditor’s Office urges voters to submit an Absentee Ballot Request if they have not done so and they wish to vote in the June 2 Primary Election. Make sure to sign the Return envelope in the yellow highlighted box and make sure it will be postmarked by June 1 if mailing it. Hand delivered returned ballots can be accepted until 9 p.m. Election Day, June 2.

If you have any election questions, call the Auditor’s office at 563-568-3522.

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