It’s Primary Day in Iowa. The polls open at seven o’clock. Iowa’s new voter verification law is still in what Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate calls the “soft roll out” phase, but Pate says voters at nearly two-thousand precincts around the state will be asked to show a form of state-sanctioned identification.
“A driver’s license or a voter ID card with their PIN number on it or a non-operator’s license that they get from a driver’s (license) station or a military ID,” Pate says. “Any of those would work, including a passport.”
Voters who do not bring any of those approved forms of ID with them will be able to sign a document, declaring they are who they say they are and their ballots will be counted. Starting in January of 2019, though, Iowa voters who do not have an ID at their polling place will cast a “provisional” ballot and will be required to follow up with a visit to their county auditor’s office to show an ID so their ballot may be counted.
- Top of ticket — the race for governor among five Democrats
- Statewide GOP primary for secretary of agriculture
- Congressional primaries in Iowa’s first, third and fourth districts
Poll workers in 92 of Iowa’s 99 counties will be able to scan the digital strip on a driver’s license or voter ID to check in voters today. However in Polk, Linn and five other counties, poll workers will have to manually find a number on the ID and check the voter registration rolls to see if it’s an eligible voter.
“They have not updated their technology,” Pate says.
Pate isn’t expecting voters to have to wait long to cast their ballots today.
“It’s a lot faster than the old school where you used to have the lists in front of you and you’d have to go through pages and pages and look for your name on it and make sure it’s the right John Smith or Paul Pate,” Pate says. “So if there’s a line, I would say it’s just because of higher voter turn-out and I would say if I were an auditor, I would anticipate higher volume in your predominantly Democratic precincts.”
That’s because Democrats have a statewide race for governor in their Primary.
There’s already been a record-setting number of requests for absentee ballots from those who voted early. Those absentee ballots had to be postmarked by yesterday to be counted today. Pate says county auditors start counting absentee ballots at any time today.
“And when the poll workers do it, it’s just like the other polls. There’s a Democrat and a Republican poll worker, working together,” Pate says. “That way it’s a checked process.”
The first votes to be reported this evening after the polls close are likely the tally of those absentee or “early” votes from each precinct.
- Republican Paul Pate seeks reelection, two Democrats vying to challenge him
- Libertarian candidates for governor
There are three party primaries today — one for Democrats, one for Republicans and one for Libertarians. Libertarians reached “official party status” in 2016 when their presidential candidate got at least two percent of the vote in Iowa. There are a dozen Libertarians running for office and two Libertarians are running for governor. Pate says, for Libertarians, today’s Primary is “the starting block” for the party.
“There’s an unknown quantity in the sense that we haven’t had a third party in a some time. They have a message they’re trying to offer voters as a reason to vote for them,” Pate says. “The real test will come in the fall.”
To retain “official party status” — the nominee Libertarians pick to run for governor on the November ballot must get at least two percent of the vote. As of June 1t, 10,000 Iowans had registered as Libertarian voters.