The polls open at seven o’clock this morning for Iowa’s primary elections and will close 14 hours later, at nine o’clock this evening. The lines for Iowa’s congressional and legislative districts have been redrawn to account for population shifts discovered in the 2010 Census. Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz — the state’s commissioner of elections — says if you don’t know where your new precinct voting site may be, there is an on-line resource to help.
“It may be a little confusing for some people so it’s important to go to our website — www.sos.iowa.gov — and do a search for your polling place to make sure you’re in the right spot,” he says.
Schultz has created a section on his website to honor veterans with your vote.
“We have an online memorial where you can go and talk about a current member of the military or someone who may have passed on and honor them,” Schultz says, “and if you do, we send everybody a pin to wear when they vote in the General Election, to do so in honor of a veteran.”
In today’s Primary Election, you cannot be an independent or “no-party” voter. You’ve got to pick a party and then you’ll get a ballot for that party’s primary.
“If they want to vote in the Republican primary. If they want to vote in the Democratic Party primary, they have to register as a Democrat,” Schultz says. “And we do have ‘same day’ voter registration in Iowa.”
That means you can walk into a polling place, prove with some sort of documentation that you’re a resident of the precinct and cast a ballot in either the GOP or Democratic Primary election in your area. Schultz isn’t making a prediction as to what voter turn-out may be today.
“It’s all about local races, so it really just depends on where you live and who’s got a competitive primary,” Schultz says.
There are no statewide races on this year’s primary ballot, but a race for the statehouse has garnered attention as U.S. Senator Chuch Grassley’s grandson, Pat, faces a Republican primary. Pat Grassley, who is a member of the Iowa House, was thrown into the same district as Republican Representative Annette Sweeney in the new redistricting plan. It is the most expensive legislative primary race in the state and more money will be spent in this race than in the two GOP congressional primaries in eastern Iowa.