DES MOINES, Iowa — Ballots are printed and are ready for primary voters to cast their ballot on Election Day, June 7.
The Polk County Election office has ballots ready to start being mailed out on Wednesday, May 18, to absentee voters. The last day to request an absentee ballot is May 23 at 5 p.m. Absentee ballots need to be in an election office by 8 p.m. the night of the election to count. Early voting begins this Wednesday as well and lasts until June 6.
“Right now we have all the ballots printed, we are in the testing process to make sure everything is accounted for,” said Jamie Fitzgerald, (D) the Polk County Auditor. “And we will start mailing those out first thing Wednesday morning.”
The early voting window and the absentee ballot mailing date are different for this election and the Polk County Auditor wants all voters to be prepared.
In Polk County, there are 327,961 voters that are registered to vote in this primary. There are only Republican or Democrat ballots for primary elections, so if a voter isn’t registered with either party they are unable to vote. But, voters are able to register to vote and change party affiliation on election days in Iowa.
“You have to be a registered member of either the Democratic party or the Republican party. Now you can change that on election day, say you are one party and want to change to the other to vote for a candidate that moved you,” said Fitzgerald. “You can definitely do that if you are a ‘no party’ or you are registering to vote for the first time.”
Even with some of the date changes for absentee ballots and early voting, Fitzgerald said he expects there to be a voter turnout just like in 2018’s primary election.
“It’s pretty close to the same kind, even with the shortened window to participate by early vote, you are going to see lines at times here in Polk County,” said Fitzgerald. “But we think the numbers are going to be pretty similar to what they were in 2018.”
There were 52,000 votes cast in the 2018 primaries in Polk County; with just over 8,000 Republicans voting and 43,000 Democrat voters.
There is a new absentee ballot drop box outside the Polk County Election office that will be used for this election. If you have questions about a voting deadline or where your polling location is visit the Polk County Auditor’s website or the Iowa Secretary of State’s website.