The Linn County auditor says voter turn-out in the Cedar Rapids suburb of Marion may be higher this year as many flooded-out Cedar Rapids residents are living in that city now. Voters have two options when they’re living in temporary quarters.
"I expect there’s going to be a lot of questions from the displaced voters as to which location they vote at. Do I vote at where my house was flooded out or do I vote where I’m staying now?" Linn County Auditor Joel Miller explains. "…The answer is if the intent is to move back to their house that was flooded, then they can keep the registration at that location and vote in that precinct. If they want to change their residence — where they’re at the…night before the election, then they can register at that location."
According to Miller, about 5,000 homes and 10 polling places were flooded out in Cedar Rapids. "The burden is on the voter to decide what their residence is, not up to our office," Miller says. "We can certainly provide the legal information they need to make that decision."
Many of the 400 FEMA trailers sent for flooded-out Cedar Rapids residents have been placed in Marion. "People are upset. They’re been distracted. They’ve been displaced. The lack or the movement of the government to assist them could certainly motivate some people to get out and vote that might not otherwise vote. I think that’d be natural," Miller says. "Am I expecting it to be substantial? No, but I do think people are going to show up and vote."
The Linn County Auditor has opened an office in the Westdale Shopping Mall on the southwest side of Cedar Rapids so residents from anywhere in Linn County can walk-in and vote there, starting today.
Miller also plans to set up at least 10 satellite voting locations around the county to allow residents to cast their ballots early. "We were very distracted in Linn County with the floods and the cleanup efforts and all the other questions that are going along with that, but I do think when it gets around to Election Day, (voters) are going to show up in force," Miller says.