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Officials Encourage People To Vote By Mail In Upcoming Special Elections

voting sign
John Pemble / IPR file
There are four upcoming special elections in Iowa. City and counties are making some changes and encouraging people to vote by mail to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Iowa cities and counties with upcoming special elections are encouraging people to vote by mail in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Woodbury County has an April 14 election to fill a vacant county supervisor seat. The county auditor’s office says it will only have two precinct locations open, down from the 28 originally planned. County Auditor Pat Gill says his office is urging people to vote by mail.

Find resources and information abouthow to vote by absentee ballot in Iowa here.

“We ask that you protect yourselves and our precinct election officials by simply completing a postage paid absentee ballot request form and returning it as soon as possible,” Gill said.

We ask that you protect yourselves and our precinct election officials by simply completing a postage paid absentee ballot request form and returning it as soon as possible. - Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill

Gill said some of the precinct election officials are older and in the group most susceptible to contract the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Though there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Woodbury County, the county has reduced the number of poll workers needed for the election from more than 80 to 14. 

The county plans to clean the two precinct sites before the polls open and after they close, Gill said.

“We’re scrambling just like everybody else to try to get cleaning materials to do that,” he said. “We’ve also talked to building services folks here. They have a machine they can atomize to clean the facility.”

Officials are looking at putting a box outside of the courthouse so people can drop off absentee ballots. 

Black Hawk and Plymouth counties are also encouraging voting by absentee ballot

The Black Hawk County auditor got approval from the Iowa secretary of state to set back a Cedar Falls special election one week. They’re also encouraging absentee voting.

The city of Craig in Plymouth County has a special election scheduled for March 31 to fill a vacancy on the city council. Plymouth County Auditor Stacey Feldman said there are 52 registered voters in Craig. Her office is in the process of working with the Iowa secretary of state to extend the deadline by one week to March 27 for the county to mail out absentee ballots. She said they still plan to hold the special election on March 31, and will have one polling place open as required by law.

The Iowa Secretary of State Office said Monroe County also has an upcoming city special election, which is scheduled for April 21. “We are strongly encouraging Iowans to vote by mail,” said a spokesman for the secretary of state about all of the upcoming special elections, adding that there will be more details on that this week.

Katie Peikes was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio from 2018 to 2023. She joined IPR as its first-ever Western Iowa reporter, and then served as the agricultural reporter.