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It’s Election Day: How, when and where to vote
See what choices are on the ballot for Iowans in this midterm election
Election Day is upon us today as Iowans vote on who should be the state’s next governor, U.S. senator, U.S. House members, lawmakers in the Iowa Legislature and on county Boards of Supervisors — and much more.
How to vote
The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. today. Voters should note that closing time is an hour earlier than in previous general elections, the result of a new state law.
Ballots sent by mail must be received by the county auditor’s office by 8 p.m. today or they will not be counted. If you asked for a ballot by mail but have not yet returned it, you can return it to your polling location today until the polls close.
You can find your polling place on the website of the Iowa Secretary of State, the state’s top elections official.
It looks like a good day to get out and vote: Today’s forecast throughout most of Iowa calls for high temperatures in the mid-50s and partly cloudy skies, according to The Weather Channel. Most of the state has a very low chance of rain, with the exception of Western Iowa.
Voters can still register to vote at the polls. Registered voters, according to state law, must show a government-approved form of identification when checking in to vote.
More information is available on the Secretary of State’s voter’s guide, voterreadyiowa.gov.
Who’s on the ballot
At the top of the ticket are a pair of campaigns in which all Iowans will vote: for U.S. senator and governor.
In the U.S. Senate campaign, Republican Chuck Grassley is seeking an eighth, six-year term in the Senate. He is being challenged by Democrat Mike Franken, a retired U.S. Navy admiral from Sioux City.
In the race for governor, Republican incumbent Kim Reynolds seeks another four-year term. She is facing Democrat Deidre DeJear, an activist and small business owner from Des Moines who also ran for Iowa Secretary of State four years ago. Also on the ballot for governor is Libertarian Rick Stewart.
All Iowans also will vote for officials to lead state agencies: Secretary of State, Attorney General, Auditor, Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Treasurer.
Regionally, Iowans also will vote for their next member of the U.S. House. Three of the four races feature Republican incumbents against Democratic challengers; only Central and Southwest Iowa’s 3rd District features a Democratic incumbent against a Republican challenger.
Also on the ballot will be local campaigns for the Iowa Legislature. Iowans will be voting on their member in the 100-member Iowa House; some districts also will have campaigns for the 50-member Iowa Senate. Republicans go into the election with strong majorities in both legislative chambers: 60-40 in the House and 32-18 in the Senate.
Voters also will decide whether to retain two Iowa Supreme Court justices and two Iowa Court of Appeal judges, as well as district judges and associate judges.
In Johnson County, five candidates are running at large for two seats on the five-member Board of Supervisors. In Linn County, two district seats of the three-member Board of Supervisors are open, as is an open seat for Linn County Treasurer.
Some other voters will face local ballot questions and votes to fill township trustee and clerk positions and non-partisan seats.
Get election results
The Gazette is making much of its online election coverage free as a community service. On TheGazette.com: Follow a live election blog during the day Tuesday, then check back for results after the polls close. In The Green Gazette online replica edition: An expanded edition will report results Wednesday morning. In The Gazette: Complete coverage and analyses will be in Thursday’s paper.
What else is on the ballot
Unique to this election is a proposed amendment to the Iowa Constitution. Iowans are voting on whether to enshrine into the state constitution language that would declare Iowans’ right to gun ownership in strong legal terms.
A “yes” vote means any current and future gun regulations would be required to face “strict scrutiny,” meaning any regulation would have to clear a high legal bar before being considered constitutional in the state. A “no” vote would be a status quo vote — no changes would be made to the state constitution.
Getting to the polls
Both Iowa City Transit and Cedar Rapids Transit will offer free rides on Election Day.
Buses will run their regular hours. Rides are free to everyone on Election Day — no need to show voter registration. However, voters are encouraged to find their polling places before they board a bus to make sure they’re on the right route.
Who already voted
Early voting numbers are down significantly compared with the previous midterm election, in 2018. Among new changes to state elections laws passed by statehouse Republicans was a significant reduction in the amount of time Iowans can vote.
Over two separate elections law changes, Iowa’s early voting window was reduced from 40 days to 19. And Iowans have less time to request an absentee ballot, to have that ballot mailed to them and to return it in time to be counted.
Through Friday, Iowans had submitted 292,506 absentee ballots for the 2022 election, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. That is down nearly 35 percent from 2018, when through the Friday before the election Iowans had submitted 447,454 absentee ballots.
Absentee ballots submitted by registered Republicans are down 41 percent from 2018, and absentee ballots submitted by registered Democrats are down 21 percent from 2018, according to Iowa Secretary of State figures.
The question now is whether that means overall turnout will be down this election cycle, or if more Iowans are choosing to vote in-person on Election Day rather than voting early or by mail.
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