O'Brien County's Bell-Times-Courier -

Absentee Voting Gets Push in O'Brien County


April 30, 2020

Iowa’s Secretary of State serves as the state’s election commissioner. Rules, methods and guidance come out of that office. Counties report to the office. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate has initiated a big push for absentee voting in Iowa during the COVID-19 pandemic. Absentee voting is expected to reduce contact between people and help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Iowa primaries are scheduled for June 2.

The state is jumpstarting the absentee voting procedure. Any active, registered voter can vote absentee either by mail or, beginning May 4, in person. The O’Brien County courthouse is currently closed to public access, but there is a drop box in the east entry of the court house. Additional plans are being finalized to accept absentee ballots in person.

Absentee ballot request forms were sent out on Friday from its drop-ship location and are expected to arrive at 5 different mail distribution centers across Iowa. According to Barb Rohwer on Tuesday morning, she expects the first applications for absentee ballots to reach the homes of individual active registered voters no earlier than Friday. If any active registered voter would like an absentee ballot mailed to their residence, simply complete the application and put it in the mail. Requests for an absentee primary ballot must be received at the Auditor’s office no later than 5:00pm May 22. Any application for an absentee ballot received after that will not be honored. Postage is paid. A primary ballot for the party of your choice will be mailed to your residence. Once you receive the ballot, vote and again, mail the ballot back, postage paid, or return it in person no later than the 5:00pm June 1, 2020. Once you submit your ballot, you are done voting in the primary. In-person voting for the primary is possible. Just 2 polling places will be open, the Pavillion in Sheldon and the Community Building in Primghar. County officials are strongly encouraging the citizens to utilize absentee voting by mail.

Discussion of operations for election day in November are on-going and will be decided once it is better-known what the health condition of the county is at that time.

Chair Pro-Tem Nancy McDowell signed a grant application on behalf of O’Brien County Tuesday morning to assist with unusual expenses to help stop the spread of COVID-19 during this election. The grant application is for $3000.


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