What They're Thinking: Johnson County Auditor prepares for November's election

Travis Weipert sets goals, hopes to inform voters

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IOWA CITY — Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert has been preparing for November’s elections and working toward the goal of registering 100,000 voters.

Q: What is Johnson County doing to register voters before November?

A: We’re working with the League of Women Voters here in Johnson County. We’re also working with advocates for the disability community and they’re doing a voter-registration drive, helping us out.

On top of that, we’re going to be running ads on the movie screens at all the local movie theaters about not just registering but everything about voting so people know what to expect.

We sent out a press release with three videos. Those three videos are out there on registering, absentee, all that stuff.

The fair is a great way, that we just had, for us to get out there and get people registered, explain to them the process. We’re always out there. We’re going to Kiwanis, Rotary, you name it, we speak at everything. High schools, anywhere we can go, we’ll be there.

Q: Why is reaching 100,000 registered voters such an important landmark for Johnson County?

A: It would be the first time we’re at the 100,000. We’re probably right around between 83,000 and 85,000 right now. That doesn’t include all the students who will be coming in. So it’s just something we think would be pretty cool if we finally hit that six-digit number of 100,000 and continue to push onward and get people engaged.

A lot of it is going to be dependent upon how this race continues to shape up. We’ve already seen a lot of people really engaged. It’s definitely one of those years where we hear ‘I don’t want Donald’ or ‘I don’t want Hillary’ and ‘I am going to show up and vote.’ So hopefully that drives up numbers for us.

Q: What efforts has Johnson County made to be accessible and inclusive when it comes to voting?

A: First of all, we’re required to provide curbside voting. A lot of people don’t know about it. We’ve been pushing it big time. That’s if you don’t want to get out of your car, we’ll send out a bipartisan team. And you can vote in your car.

Other things we’re doing with accessibility and getting people interested, as far as I know, we’re the first county since the Department of Justice came out with the new handicap accessibility requirements, we went out to every single site already. We measured, made sure they are acceptable. We ended up moving a handful of sites.

We’re doing everything we can to get people out and make it as easy as possible for them to vote.

When it comes to absentee, we’re going to start running press releases that just, ‘Hey, if you don’t want to wait in line, we can mail you a ballot.’ You can sit in your recliner, fill it out, put it right back in your mail box and you never even have to leave the house.

Q: How can Johnson County residents register to vote?

A: Up until 10 days before the election, it’s very simple, just a quick easy form. You don’t need to provide any identification or anything.

Within the last 10 days, say you show up at the polls, you’re going to need to provide proof of address, photo id. And we have a list of everything you can provide on our website.

I had a lady already today say to me, ‘I was told you can’t register on the day of the election.’ That is absolutely not true. You can, as long as you have the proper legal documents.

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