Send in your ballot: Secretary of State encourages absentee voting for June primary

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

With the June primary election about a month away, registered voters in Iowa should keep a lookout for an absentee ballot request form in their mailboxes. Absentee voting in the state opened April 23, and Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is encouraging the public to vote absentee before the June 2 primary in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Pate's office is in the process of mailing the request forms with prepaid return postage to registered Iowa voters. The Secretary of State expanded the absentee voting window due to expected issues with COVID-19.

"Absentee voting from home is safe and secure, and this is the best way to participate in the June primary election," Pate said. "We have measures in place to ensure the integrity of the ballot while maintaining social distancing. I encourage all eligible Iowans who want to vote in the primary to use the absentee method."

The forms must be postmarked by June 2 and received by the Dickinson County Auditor's Office by June 8. In person absentee voting began Monday. Dickinson County election officials will serve all voting precincts at a single location Paul's Body Shop, 909 19th St. in Spirit Lake, just south of the courthouse from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. starting May 4 and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on June 2.

"They'll be able to walk right in," Dickinson County Elections Clerk Jordan Moyer said. "We'll have the garage doors open. I'll have my precinct workers there to help me and tell people to stay 6 feet away. We'll have markers on the ground as well for where they can stand, kind of like the grocery stores."

She said masks are being made for the precinct workers, and she expects several large bottles of hand sanitizer to be provided by the Iowa Secretary of State's Office.

Voters must choose a political party Democrat or Republican in order to participate in the primary, and a party affiliation may be selected on the absentee ballot request forms. The county auditor's office will make the necessary party changes once the form is received. Voters may change their party affiliation again if they choose but must wait until after the election. A printable request form is also available on the Dickinson County Auditor's website.

A look at the ballot

Dickinson County Supervisor Pam Jordan has chosen not to seek reelection for her District 5 seat. Janis Bowles and Jeff Thee are squaring off for the Republican nomination to succeed Jordan. Angela Kofoot is the only Democrat seeking the District 5 chair in the primary.

Dickinson County District 3 Supervisor Tim Fairchild is seeking reelection. The incumbent Democrat is unopposed on the primary ballot.

Dickinson County Auditor Lori Pedersen, Dickinson County Sheriff Greg Baloun, and Dickinson County Attorney Amy Zenor are all uncontested in the upcoming primary. Each is running as a Republican. Zenor's nomination will be to fill the vacancy left by previous Dickinson County Attorney Jon Martin who stepped down from the position at the end of 2019. Zenor was appointed by the Dickinson County Board of Supervisors and installed in January, and Martin agreed to temporarily fill Zenor's position as Assistant Dickinson County Attorney while the county sought Zenor's full-time replacement.

The area's pair of state representatives also have no opponents listed on the June ballot. Both State Rep. John Wills of Spirit Lake and State Rep. Megan Jones of Sioux Rapids are running on the Republican ticket for separate seats in the Iowa Legislature. Their fellow Republican State Sen. Zach Whiting is not up for reelection this year.

At the federal level, two of northwest Iowa's legislators will face a field of opponents. Incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve King of Kiron is seeking reelection from Iowa House District 4, but he'll have to overcome four other Republican candidates to win his party's nomination. State Sen. Randy Feenstra of Hull, Arnolds Park businessman Steve Reeder, Irwin businessman Bret Richards and former Woodbury County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor are all vying for the Republican nomination. Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten is also seeking the House seat and is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst is also up for reelection. The incumbent senator from Red Oak is unopposed on the Republican side of the ticket, but a handful of Democrats hope to run against her in the general election. Michael Franken of Sioux City, Kimberly Graham of Indianola, Theresa Greenfield of Des Moines, and Eddie Mauro of Des Moines will battle it out for the Democratic nomination before taking on their Republican opponent. Candidate Cal Woods of Des Moines will be listed on the ballot, but he dropped out of the Senate race, endorsing Franken.

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