How to vote early for the midterm elections

Early voting begins today in Iowa, and there are a variety of ways voters can cast their ballot before Nov. 6.


Katina Zentz

A student registers to vote on Sept. 21, 2018.

Elianna Novitch, Politics Reporter

The opportunity to vote in the 2018 midterm elections officially begins today, with under a month left until the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

Voters in Johnson County have three options on how they can vote before Election Day:

  • Send an absentee ballot by mail postmarked on or before Nov. 5.
  • In person at the Johnson County Auditor’s Office, 913 S. Dubuque St., Suite 101 before Nov. 6.
  • At a satellite voting site: here’s a schedule of locations.

Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert recommends voting early as an easy option.

“Usually, you don’t have to wait in line … [and] you get it done and out of the way,” he said.

If people are interested in voting by absentee ballot, they can download absentee ballot request forms that must then be mailed or hand delivered to the Auditor’s Office. A ballot will then be mailed to the voter to fill out and then must be mailed or hand delivered to the Auditor’s office.

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The last day to request mailed absentee ballots is Oct. 27. On Election Day, absentee ballots must be returned to the Auditor’s Office.

If voters are interested in voting early in-person, they may do so at the Auditor’s Office or a satellite voting location.

People need to register before casting or mailing an absentee ballot. They can register in-person at the Auditor’s Office or a satellite location without having to show identification before the voter pre-registration deadline on Oct. 27.

After the deadline, registration is still possible, however voters will have to follow the Election Day registration procedure, which requires them to have proof of identity and proof of residence. If people can’t provide those, they can bring a registered voter from their precinct to confirm the their identity.

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Weipert recommends that college students register before the pre-registration deadline to avoid having to bring documentation in order to register.

Iowa’s new voter-ID law won’t affect early voting for this year’s midterm election, Weipert said.

RELATED: Voter-ID law seen as unnecessary by some Iowa county auditors

“As of right now, there are really no pieces of it in effect,” Weipert said. “The actual physical part about showing an ID doesn’t go into effect until 2019.”

According to the secretary of state’s website, in 2018, voters will be asked to show IDs before voting at the polls. However, people who do not have the necessary IDs can sign oaths verifying their identity, and they will be allowed to cast a regular ballot. Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, Iowa voters will be required to show IDs at the polls before they can vote.

Weipert said his office has seen a lot of new voter registrations coming in, and he expects a high voter turnout for the midterms.

“A lot of it depends on what’s on the ballot, what issues are happening at the current time. If you ask me right now, Do I expect a pretty high turnout this fall? Absolutely,” Weipert said. “You’d be living under a rock if you didn’t see the political climate right now with Trump, and Kavanaugh, and just everything happening, the different movements going on. I definitely think that’s going to drive voter turnout this year.”