Early voting for Iowa’s Democratic and Republican primaries began today, 40 days before the June 7 election. Several candidates held events to mark the occasion. Jim Mowrer’s campaign had a presence in the morning at the Polk County Elections Office, while his third Congressional district Democratic rival Mike Sherzan was first in line to cast an early ballot in Dallas County. Iowans have two options for voting early in the primary.
By mail. Download an absentee ballot request form at the Iowa Secretary of State’s website or your county auditor’s website (here’s the link for Polk County). In most cases, you will receive the absentee ballot within a week of mailing in the request form. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully: ballots are not counted if the voter forgets to seal the ballot inside the secrecy envelope, or forgets to sign the affidavit envelope that holds the secrecy envelope. After mailing your absentee ballot, you can use this tracking feature to confirm the ballot has arrived at the county auditor’s office.
In person. All 99 county auditors are available for early voting during regular business hours. I prefer this method and usually vote as soon as I can, when some other errand takes me near the Polk County Elections Office in downtown Des Moines. It takes only a few minutes to request a ballot, fill it out, and turn it in. You will not be allowed to take the ballot with you. An elections official can confirm all envelopes have been properly sealed and signed before you hand your ballot over.
The full list of Democratic and Republican candidates for state and federal offices is available here. The most-watched GOP race will be the fourth Congressional district primary between Representative Steve King and State Senator Rick Bertrand. Democrats have a four-way statewide primary for the U.S. Senate nomination: Patty Judge, Rob Hogg, Bob Krause, or Tom Fiegen. Two U.S. House districts have competitive Democratic primaries: Pat Murphy and Monica Vernon in IA-01, and Mowrer, Sherzan, and Desmund Adams in IA-03.
Among the many contested Iowa House and Senate primaries, the races I’m following most closely are Pam Dearden Conner and Nate Boulton in the open Senate district 16 and the House district 41 campaign between State Representative Jo Oldson and challenger Eddie Mauro.
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