A few bumps in the road appeared with the start of absentee voting in Iowa for this year’s election. First, Plymouth County officials discovered about half the absentee ballots they’d sent out the previous week were missing one race. The names of republican incumbent Congressman Steve King and democratic challenger Joyce Schulte in the fifth congressional district. Then, auditors in four eastern Iowa counties learned their ballots were missing one selection, a yes-or-no vote for the retention of a judge. Spokeswoman Phyllis Peters in the Iowa Secretary of State’s office says this won’t invalidate the ballots that’ve already been sent to voters in counties. The office has authoritized sending out a supplemental ballot to voters for that judicial retention question to the 6000 voters who got absentee ballots in Louisa, Henry and Lee counties. Though the flawed ballots were also ready to go in Des Moines County, they hadn’t yet been sent out. Voters in the three counties who’ll get the extra mailing will see an explanation of the omitted item. The supplemental ballot will let the voters who got absentee ballots vote on the one other issue missing from the first, that judicial retention vote. It’s not a race between candidates, just an up-or-down vote on keeping the judge in the post. If voters in tbose counties still have their original ballot they can add the supplemental sheet with the judge vote and mail them together. If they’ve already filled out the original ballot and mailed it in the pre-stamped pre-addressed envelope, the second supplemental one can be sent in by itself. Peters says some voters may choose not to cast the judicial-retention vote, and might have skipped that one anyway. She says not everyone will vote on every question of the ballot, but every one they choose to vote on, and mark correctly, will be counted. She says some voters choose not to vote in a race or retention that they don’t really know much about. Peters says the votes they DO cast will still be properly counted. Plymouth County voters have been asked to return their flawed ballots, and write “spoiled” across them, and they’ll receive new ones. Late in the week one more goof appeared — a Kossuth County ballot that instructs voters to choose no more than seven candidates for a local agricultural extension council. It should be four rather than seven candidates. If a voteor chooses only four, that ballot will be accepted.
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