Voting for this November’s General Election starts in a few weeks as early voting stations open later this month around the state. Michael Mauro, Iowa’s Secretary of State, says up to a third of the votes in this fall’s election will be cast long before Election Day on November 2nd.
“It changes how you campaign as a candidate,” Mauro says. “It changes how you do your advertisements.” Satellite voting stations open in Iowa 40 days before Election Day. “So the real Election Day, to me, starts September 23. It comes to an end and a climax on November 2. During that period of time I think many Iowans will be participating early because they’ve become accustomed to it. They feel it’s safe and it’s secure,” Mauro says.
“Both parties, I can tell you — you go talk to them now — they’re all working now (on) how can we get our voters to participate prior to November 2.” Mauro, a Democrat, is seeking reelection this November, facing Republican Matt Schultz of Council Bluffs.
Schultz has expressed concerns about voter fraud and has called for changes in Iowa’s “Same-Day” voter registration law which allows Iowans to register to vote at the polls on Election Day — or when they go to a satellite station to cast their vote early. Mauro says those who commit election fraud face prison time and a $7,500.
“I’ve been doing this for a lot of years. I don’t know of any really documented cases of anything ever happening voter-fraud wise,” Mauro says. “If any mistake’s ever made, they’re made because of innocent mistakes: not programming the ballot right, not checking it right, not proofing it right. That sort of mistakes take place and you need to get those on the front end. I don’t see any voter fraud of any rampant nature.”
In the 2008 General Election, 45,000 Iowans took advantage of same-day voter registration so they could vote on Election Day. Mauro says most were repeat voters who had moved to a new county. To register at their polling site, Iowans must show a photo I.D. and proof of residency, like their utility bill.