The city election will be held countywide in Muscatine on Tuesday, November 7. While the voting process in Iowa has become more streamlined over the past few years due to the introduction of computers, there are still several steps that must be observed.
When voters first arrive at their precinct, they will be asked to fill out a Voter Declaration of Eligibility. This half-page form will ask for the voter’s name, address, and signature. If the voter would like to sign in using a State of Iowa driver’s license, this form will only require a signature. A signature is required regardless of the sign-in process.
After filling out the declaration of eligibility, the voter will then sign in with the poll workers managing the computers. Voters will be asked to hand the declaration to the poll worker, who will then ask for the voter’s name, address, and date of birth. While the process may seem repetitive, the redundancy is a step designed to eliminate voter fraud. The written information will be compared to the audible information.
Once registered in the computer, a sticker will be placed on the declaration of eligibility, which is then handed back to the voter. The voter will be asked to step to another station, where the poll worker will ask them to print their name and address on a list. This list is used to validate the number of voters within the precinct. This form is also the one that poll watchers are permitted to look at to collect data and compare to registered voter lists from within each party.
After signing the final list, the voter will be handed a ballot, which is placed inside of a privacy sleeve. The voter will then step into an open voting booth to cast their ballot.
It is important to note that in order for a vote to be counted, the entire circle must be filled in. A ballot with additional circles filled in will be counted as an over-vote and the votes for that race will not be counted. In the event of an over-vote, the voter will have the opportunity to cast a second ballot and the original will be marked as a spoiled ballot, or the voter may choose to let the ballot stand as counted.
In each section of the ballot there will be instructions as to how many positions are available and how many to vote for.
In the event that the voter chooses to write in a candidate, there is a simple process that must be followed. As with any other vote to be cast, the circle next to the space must be filled in. If a name is written but the circle is not filled in, the machine will not recognize the vote as a write-in vote. Once the circle is filled in and the name is written, the vote will be counted as a write-in.
Once the ballot is cast, the voter will insert their ballot into the vote-counting machine. No poll worker will handle the voted ballot or see the voted ballot.
After the ballot is inserted into the machine, the voter is free to leave the polling place.
It is important to note that voters who require assistance may request help from a precinct official. Curbside voting is also available for voters who are unable to enter the precinct due to medical conditions.
Voters who have requested an absentee ballot that was not returned may vote at the polls. However, they will be required either to surrender their absentee ballot or vote a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots will be held and counted once the absentee ballot has been verified not to have been cast.
Iowa allows for same-day voter registration. In order to register at the polls, the voter must have a valid ID and proof of residency that demonstrates a current address. Proof of residency can be in the form of a utility bill, residential lease, bank statement, paystub, or government-issued document. Voters will not be permitted to register without proof of residency. Once residency is established, the voter may register and cast a ballot.
Voters in Muscatine will be casting votes for Mayor, Council-At-Large, and, depending on the ward the voter resides in, Councilmembers. Council seats are open in Wards 2 and 4.
Polls in the City of Muscatine will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. All other cities in Muscatine County will be open from 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m.
For questions about voting in Iowa, contact Muscatine County Auditor Leslie Soule at (563) 263-5821.