DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa voters can now cast their ballot for the June 7 Primary election and voters are trying to keep up with recent election law changes.
“Trying to for the most part but it seems like things are getting tweaked around a little too much sometimes,” said Wil Guthrie, a Polk County voter.
In 2021 the Iowa legislature passed several voting law changes involving absentee voting and early in-person voting. County Auditors now mail ballots to voters 20 days before the election, instead of 29. The last day to request an absentee ballot by mail is 15 days prior to the election, it used to be 11 days. And the time period for early voting in person shrunk from 29 days to 20.
Voters in the election last fall dealt with these changes too, but that was for school board members or city officials. This primary election is the first time voters will have to deal with the changes for state and federal positions. One voter on Thursday said he usually votes early anyways, so the changes did not mean a whole lot.
“It is such a privilege that we are able to vote you know, and you asked about the windows, you know really if a person is going to vote they will pay attention to when they can vote and follow along,” said Larry Beeson, a Polk County voter.
Beeson walked out of the Polk County Election Office after casting his ballot early for the primaries. Another voter just signed up to get an absentee ballot mailed to her. She has been voting absentee ever since the pandemic and is concerned about the law changes.
“It just seems kind of a way to restrict things as much as possible,” said Ember Guthrie, a Polk County voter. “But I feel like as long as we pay attention and kind of like advocate against it as much as possible, maybe.”
Other voters felt the same way after signing up for absentee ballots or voting early. Another voter purposely cast his ballot early due to the recent changes in the law.
“Well I seen on the news that there was going to be a short on the time you can vote so I decided to get out and vote early,” said Eddie Richardson, a Polk County voter.
As of Thursday morning, the Polk County Election Office has sent out 5,267 absentee ballots and 212 voters had come in to vote early.
To learn more about election law changes and how they impact Polk County voters, go to the Polk County Auditor’s website. To see more about the candidates running in a specific county to find your polling place, go to the Iowa Secretary of State’s website.