Absentee voting offered in courthouse parking lot

Jones County Auditor’s Office personnel Janine Sulzner, Michele Lubben, Gwyn Gapinski, and Vicki Starn show off the new banner for curbside voting at the courthouse in Anamosa. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, in-person absentee voting is now being offered for the June 2 primary. (Photo submitted)

     In-person absentee voting began across Iowa on Monday, May 4, and runs through Monday, June 1.

     Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, county auditors have had to come up with creative ways to provide this required service to voters, as most courthouses and county office buildings are currently closed to general public access.

     In Jones County, Auditor Janine Sulzner and her staff have considered a few options, and will start off by offering curbside absentee voting in the courthouse parking lot, rain or shine, during office hours. Sulzner said as activity increases, she may move the in-person absentee voting to the upper level of the courthouse garage in the corner of the parking lot. Initially, they were working towards only the garage location, but have shifted to the curbside option as they think their time and staff resources will be better utilized.

     A banner with basic instructions will be hung daily on the north side of the courthouse under the Auditor’s Office windows. Once in the parking lot, voters can either honk their horn briefly, or if they have their phone with them, call the Auditor’s Office at the phone number on the banner (319-462-2282). After obtaining the required information either by phone or at the voter’s car, the Auditor’s Office staff will bring the ballot to the voter’s car and will wait for the voter to mark their ballot and seal it in the ballot envelope. The staff will then return the voted ballot to the Auditor’s Office.

     The staff will be utilizing health safety measures during this process, such as gloves, masks, sanitized clipboards, pens, and ballot containers.

     Absentee voting by mail is still strongly encouraged during this time, as voters don’t necessarily need to leave their home to do so. nearly 13,000 Jones County registered voters received an absentee ballot application in the mail this past week – return postage to the Auditor’s Office was provided by the Iowa Secretary of State.


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