What You Need to Know for Election Day
What’s your voting plan?
As of the end of last week, more than 390,000 Iowans have already cast their vote in the 2020 election. With a return rate of 52.7%, many of the 746,961 Iowans who have requested to vote early still have yet to return their ballot. As the election heads into the last two weeks, voters are encouraged to return their filled-out ballots as soon as possible.
Below is everything you need to know in order to make sure your ballot is counted and your voice is heard.
Voting early at home is the safest way to vote this year, Iowans can still request a ballot until October 24th at: https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/pdf/absenteeballotapp.pdf. Iowans can also vote in person before the election at their local county auditor’s office. There may also be satellite voting locations set up. To find satellite voting location, or the address of your county auditor, go to: https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/auditors/AuditorsList.html. Voters will be required to show ID if voting at a satellite location (see below for valid forms of ID).
If you have an absentee ballot that still needs to be mailed in, it must be postmarked by Monday, November 2. It is a good idea to turn it in as soon as possible. You may also hand deliver it to your county auditor. If you have requested an absentee ballot but have not yet received it or want to confirm it was received by the county auditor, you can track your absentee ballot by checking the following link: https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/absenteeballotstatus/search.aspx
Iowans who are not yet registered to vote can still register until Saturday, October 24th.
Iowans can also register on Election Day by taking advantage of Iowa’s Same Day Voter Registration process. A voter who wants to register on Election Day will need to show a proof of ID that is valid, current, and contains an expiration date. These include a driver’s license, out of state driver’s license or non-driver ID card, U.S. passport, U.S. military ID, Tribal ID, ID card issued by an employer, or student ID by an Iowa High School or college.
Along with proof of ID, those wanting to register and vote on Election Day also have to show a proof of residence which include: a residential lease, utility or cell phone bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or government document.
If a voter does not have either of these, they can have a registered voter in their precinct attest for them by both signing an oath.
Election day is Tuesday, November 3rd. If you are currently registered to vote in Iowa, you will be asked on Election Day to show a valid form of identification (ID) before casting a ballot. If a voter does not have a valid form of ID, they can have a registered voter in their precinct attest for them by signing an oath.
The following types of ID are accepted:
- Driver’s License or Non-operator ID
- US Passport
- Military or Veterans ID
- State Issued voter ID card
- Tribal Identification Card
Precinct voting locations are open from 7 AM to 9 PM and, as long as voters are in line by 9 PM, they will be allowed to vote. Voters can find their polling locations by checking here: https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/voterreg/pollingplace/search.aspx.
Financial Assistance Available for COVID-19 Utility Disruption Prevention
Last week, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) launched a new Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program. It provides income eligible households who are at risk of disconnection due to COVID-19 up to $2,000 for electric, natural gas and water bills. Payments through the program will be made directly to utility providers and applied to the applicant’s account. Earlier this year, the state allocated $14.5 million of federal CARES act funds for utility assistance programs.
Iowans are eligible to receive this assistance if they have:
- A primary Iowa residence with active residential utility accounts, renters may apply as long as the utility account is in the applicant’s name;
- An unpaid utility bill balance or have previously entered into a payment plan with their utility provider;
- Annual income that is 80% of the median family income, based on county and household size; and
- Have experienced financial hardship in paying utility bills between March 17, 2020 and October 31, 2020 due to COVID-19 loss in income on/after March 17, 2020.
Iowans may visit iowahousingrecovery.com to apply for assistance or to obtain additional information. Applications are accepted starting October 8, 2020 through November 20, 2020, or until funding is depleted. Assistance is awarded based on application completeness and eligibility in order received until all funds have been exhausted.
Union Recertification Elections Underway
Public employees including teachers, nurses, law enforcement officials, and snowplow drivers are reminded to vote to recertify their local union from October 13th to October 27th (9:00 AM).
Recertification elections have started for 300 public employee bargaining units, which covers 20,000 employees. Voting online is the easiest and quickest way for employees to vote. To vote go to, www.iaperbvote.com. It is important that every employee vote because a non-vote counts as a “no.”
Republican leaders passed legislation in 2017 to take away the voice of Iowans in their own workplace and severely restrict public employee unions. Under the new regulations, the public employee union must hold a recertification election every year or two before bargaining a new contract.
While these changes were made to break up Iowa’s public employee bargaining units, it has been unsuccessful so far. In the first three sets of certification elections, working Iowans overwhelmingly voted to maintain their bargaining power.
Deer Hunting Started Across the State
Deer hunting in Iowa is in full swing and the number of harvested deer has increased from last year. Hunters must report their harvest to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by midnight on the day after it is tagged or before taking it to a locker or taxidermist.
Starting this year, hunters are able to report their harvests by texting 1-800-771-4692. Hunters can also report online, by phone, or by using the Go Outdoors Iowa app. To prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), the DNR will be collecting 15 samples from harvested deer in every county and more from counties with known CWD outbreaks. Hunters interested in having a sample tested should contact their local wildlife staff. After the county quota is met, there is a $25 laboratory fee for processing the sample.
Many hunters will use deer stands while hunting. The DNR has the following tips for making your tree stand and hunting trip both safe and successful.
- Always remove and inspect your equipment.
- Try to hunt with a buddy. If you do go alone, make sure to let others know your exact hunting location and the time you are planning to return.
- Bring devices such as a cell phone, walkie-talkie, whistle, and flashlight to the stand with you. Make sure you have them within arm’s reach at all times.
- Three-point rule – always have three points of contact to the ladder or steps before moving. Make sure to check the security of each step before putting any of your weight on it.
- Always wear a safety harness when you are in your tree stand.
- Attach a safety strap to the tree so if you do fall, it won’t be for more than 12 inches.
- Make sure to follow all instructions and directions provided by the manufacturer when setting up your stand.
- Tree selection – select a straight tree that is within the size limits recommended in your stand’s directions.
- When bringing up your gear to the stand, make sure to use a haul line and to unload your firearm or bow of all bullets and arrows.
- Never leave the stand in a tree for more than two weeks to prevent damage from changing weather conditions
For more information regarding safety tips and hunting information, visit https://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Deer-Hunting.
Other Iowa News
NEW HOME BASE IOWA COMMUNITIES ANNOUNCED: Seven new communities in Iowa have recently been designated as Home Base Iowa communities. These communities include: Lee County, Calhoun County, Cedar County, Hardin County, City of Adel, City of Pella, and City of Van Meter. Home Base Iowa (HBI) connects Iowa businesses with veterans and their spouses who are looking for career opportunities in the state. There are currently over 2,400 businesses in Iowa who have pledged to hire over 16,000 veterans. HBI also provides veterans and their families with education training and resources on how to transition into a new community. For more information on the Home Base Iowa program, please visit https://www.homebaseiowa.gov/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.
PRESCRIPTION DRUG TAKE-BACK DAY OCTOBER 24: In a continued effort to fight prescription drug abuse, communities across the country are participating in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, which takes place on Saturday, October 24. This is just one of two national “Take-Back” days per year, with the second day in the spring. Iowa also has 82 permanent “Take-Back” kiosks in 55 counties throughout the state that Iowans can use year-round. Find a location at: https://odcp.iowa.gov/rxtakebacks.
IOWA ART AND HISTORY ONLINE RESOURCES AVAILABLE: The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is offering access to education resources in art, culture, history that can assist teachers and families with online education. The online set of resources include learning materials of over 1,400 documents, photos, maps, videos from the State Historical Society of Iowa and the State Historical Museum. These are free resources that are aligned with the Iowa Core Standards for Social Studies that are purposely intended to help K-12 educators. Access to their resources can be found at: https://iowaculture.gov/education-resources.
DROUGHT PERSISTS ACROSS MUCH OF THE STATE: Despite some Iowans seeing snow recently, the current drought monitor map for Iowa shows a return of Extreme Drought in parts of the state. The Western and Central part of Iowa overall is experiencing some level of drought, and there are abnormally dry conditions across parts of the rest of the state. At the beginning of this year, there was no drought across any of the state. A majority of the state received below normal precipitation over the 2020 water year. This water year was the 55th driest and 35th warmest year on record. Through August, 99% of the state was considered abnormally dry to serve drought. The full Water Year 2020 report can be found at www.iowadnr.gov/watersummaryupdate.