Voter ID rolled out in 2018

Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Voters in Iowa will have one more additional step to follow when they show up to the polls on Tuesday, June 5 to vote in the Primary Election.

     Iowa’s new Voter ID law is being rolled out this year, calling for voters to show proof of identification when they vote. This year is labeled the soft rollout, with the full law taking effect in 2019.

     During elections in 2018, voters without an ID of voter ID pin card will be asked to sign an oath verifying that they are who they say they are. Their ballot is still counted as a regular ballot. However, in 2019, those without an ID can vote using a provisional ballot, giving them extra time after the election (six days) to bring in optional forms of identification. Their ballot would then be counted.

     So what about registered voters who don’t have a form of identification?

     Jones County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections Janine Sulzner said the state’s driver’s license database is tied to the voter registration database. In December, Secretary of State Paul Pate’s office and the Jones County Courthouse mailed out voter ID pin cards to those whose driver’s license did not sync up (or match) with the voter registration.

     “We know that there are people who overlooked (the mailing) and don’t have the cards anymore,” said Sulzner. “We can reissue those for anybody. All they need to do is contact us and we’ll confirm multiple pieces of information in their voter record and we’ll mail them a new pin card.”

     Aside from the voter pin card and a standard driver’s license, there are several additional forms of identification voters can show at the polls:

     • Iowa non-operator ID card

     • U.S. passport

     • U.S. military ID

     • U.S. veterans ID

     Anybody whose driver’s license is expired and has not been renewed for 60 days will automatically receive a Voter ID in the mail if they are registered to vote.

     Sulzner pointed out that the old voter registration card (an acknowledgement form) is not sufficient to prove identification at the polls.

     Sulzner said she does not see the new Voter ID law as being discriminatory, nor has she observed any problems with Jones County elections that might warrant the Voter ID law. She said issues that have risen in the past stem from signatures on the absentee ballot not matching signatures on the returned absentee ballot envelope.

     However, Sulzner does have some concerns about the new law, and has expressed her concerns to Pate’s office.

     “Voters at the polls need to be treated reasonably the same as an absentee voter,” she said.

     Sulzner explained that they have no control over the voter who’s mailed an absentee ballot versus the voter who shows up in person to vote.

     “We have absolutely no idea who’s actually marking that ballot,” she said of absentee voters.

     To make the process fairer for all, Sulzner said absentee voters have to provide their pin card number or their driver’s license number.

     “Now we also have the ability to challenge a signature,” added Sulzner.

     Jones County has been at the forefront of the election system. In 2009, Sulzner introduced poll books at the polls. She said poll books have helped to modernize the system more than anything.

     “We have the ability to scan someone’s license in and it automatically finds them,” she said. This technology was in place well before the Voter ID law came about. “We were one of the early counties that started using them.”

     Right now, 77 of Iowa’s 99 counties are using the same poll book program as Jones County, an initiative introduced by county auditors. Roughly 15 counties use the poll book program through the Secretary of State’s Office, some counties don’t use any such program.

     Sulzner said there are so many situations that arise on Election Day, and poll books help to address those. And should the computers go down, the precincts are equipped with back-up checklists to address any questions.

     The introduction of Voter ID will not delay the voting process.

     “Everybody is going to have to show an ID,” she said. The extra step might take an additional 30 seconds per voter.

     “Poll books make it easier to find people in the system and everybody’s in a hurry these days,” said Sulzner.

     Sulzner also doesn’t see the new law impacting voter turnout on Election Day. If anything, due to the Primary race for Jones County Supervisor in District 3, she anticipates a larger turnout for the Primary. “It’s our supervisor race that’s driving our absentee turnout right now,” shared Sulzner.

     Poll workers have been through rigorous training lately.

     For those resistant to producing an ID, first, Sulzner said it’s the law. Second, how is showing an ID at the polls any different than showing an ID at the store or for any other purpose.



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