Government

Voters get informed: Local workshop offers info to seniors, Latinos

Rob Barron, founder of the Latino Political Network, speaks during AARP Iowa and the Latino Political Network’s “It’s Time to Vote” voter education meeting at the Marion Public Library in Marion on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. About 50 people attended the event. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Rob Barron, founder of the Latino Political Network, speaks during AARP Iowa and the Latino Political Network’s “It’s Time to Vote” voter education meeting at the Marion Public Library in Marion on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. About 50 people attended the event. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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MARION — At age 75, Judy Dolezal represents Iowa’s most active voter base — residents 50 years or older.

While she votes in every election and primary, Dolezal was one of about 40 people at the Marion Public Library on Tuesday to learn about changes in Iowa’s voter laws.

“I wanted to know what the changes are and how they affected me,” the Ely resident said after the meeting, which was hosted by AARP Iowa and the Latino Political Network. “This was very informative.”

Anthony Carroll, AARP Iowa’s associate state director of advocacy, said more than 90 percent of registered voters over age 50 voted in the 2016 election. About 75 percent of those voters cast ballots in this year’s primary.

Leading into the Nov. 6 election, Carroll said it’s important for voters to know what is required — and what isn’t — in Iowa’s new Voter ID law.

“We wanted people to understand what the law is and be well aware of the expectations and options,” he said. “We believe the 50-plus voters are certainly going to be part of the force in making a difference this upcoming midterm. We’re trying to boost that turnout.”

In addition, Rob Barron, cofounder of the Iowa Latino Political Network and a Des Moines school board member, said the push also has been to encourage more the Iowa’s 185,000 Latinos — a group holding less than two dozen elected positions in the state — to vote.

“It’s a population that’s not real well integrated into civic life, not as much as we need to be,” he said. “The big part of this is making sure everybody gets their voice heard in an election.”

In addition, Linn County Auditor Joel Miller cited the county’s recent mailing of informational materials, absentee ballot request forms and a sample of the November ballot — as well as the county’s more than 30 satellite voting locations — as local efforts to boost voter turnout.

Voter Information

With Iowa’s new voter ID laws phasing in, Iowans will be asked to provide identification at the polls on Nov. 6. Valid IDs include a valid driver’s license or non-driver’s ID, passport, military ID, veterans ID, tribal ID or a voter ID PIN card.

Voters who are registered, but showign up without a valid ID, can sign an oath verifying their identity and then cast a ballot.

Also, people can register at the polls by producing a photo ID and proof of residency.

Oct. 27 is the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot in the Nov. 6 election. Absentee ballots must be returned to the auditor's office or postmarked on or before Nov. 5.

In Linn County, people can vote at the County Auditor’s Office, 935 Second St. SW, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and on two Saturdays, Oct. 27 and Nov. 3.

On Election Day, Nov. 6, polls throughout the state will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Additional information is available at VoterReadyIowa.org.

Information about acceptable IDs and requirements for people not registered can be found at the Secretary of State’s website.

l Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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