The candidates have been burning up the airwaves for the past few months, now it’s time to hear from the voters. Iowa’s polling places open at 7 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. on this Election Day and state officials say over two million Iowans are registered to vote. Ann Balentine of Des Moines says she’s been insulted by the negative campaign advertising, but it won’t stop her from voting.
“I always vote and I work for candidates and I’m telling them the same thing ’cause I think if we don’t speak up it’s never going to change,” Balentine says. “I really for the first time in my life, and I used to be a history teacher, believe in term limits. I always thought elections were term limits. Now I’m thinking we need term limits because I think these morons need to be out of office after eight or 12 years…I don’t think anybody can beat an incumbent because they have too much money and too much name recognition.”
Eighty-five-year-old Dorothy Hapgar of Marshalltown guesses that since she turned 18, she’s never missed voting in an election. She has waited until today — Election Day — to cast her ballot. “Oh yes, I’m old-fashioned,” she says. Hapgar’s only used an absentee ballot once, when she and her husband planned to be out-of-town on Election Day. “We feel like it’s our duty and I can’t complain if I don’t vote,” she says. “I’ve got to do something. I’ve got to do my part.” She is modest about her exemplary voting record. “I’m nothing great. I’m just an average citizen,” Hapgar says. “And I treasure being an average citizen.”
Republican Joe Ludley of Marshalltown is unhappy with the media coverage of the gubernatorial race. “You look at the experience and the qualifications and it’s hard to understand why people are reporting what they’re reporting,” Ludley says. “Then again, you wonder if there’s a little bias in the reporting.”
Democrat Joe Boyce, a Democrat of Cedar Rapids, has already cast his vote — by absentee ballot. “I think it’s time for the Democrats to step up and try to clean up some of the messes that Republicans have done,” he says. “It’s bad.” Other voters are ready for the phone calls to stop.
On Saturday morning, Al Osborn of Urbandale got a recorded message on his home phone from President Bush. “George called me this morning but I asked him a lot of questions, tried to interrupt me but he didn’t respond,” Osborn jokes. “I think he was busy.” Osborn has waited until today to vote. “I’ll cast my vote at 7:15 Tuesday morning,” Osborn says.
Marla Swesey, a teacher from Iowa City, is a Democrat who is tired of all the recorded messages she’s gotten over the phone. But she’s fine with the real people who volunteer to call her and other Democrats to turn out the vote. “I’m an elementary school teacher here in Iowa City and so a lot of teachers are actually on the phones, calling,” Swesey says. “That’s kind of nice to get a phone call from people that you know.” If you need help in finding your polling place, call your county auditor’s office.
Marjorie Pitts, the Clay County Auditor, says the address should also be printed on your voter registration card. If you’re still unsure, the Iowa Secretary of State’s website has a “precinct locator.” “You would enter your actual address and it would indicate where your actual polling location is,” Pitts says. Pitts, who is president of the Iowa State Association of County Auditors, says election officials throughout the state are ready. “We’re hoping that we have many, many, many, many people participate in the election,” she says. “…It’s like preparing yourself for a big party and hoping lots of people show up.”