Last week we told you about the 18 Iowa counties that are planning to send out absentee ballot request forms to all active, eligible voters.
Today we want to report about the 38 counties who have told The Iowa Standard they will NOT send out absentee request forms to all active, eligible voters.
A quick glance at the 38 counties — 28 of the 38 auditors who will NOT send out the forms are Republican. Eight are Democrats and two are Independents, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s website.
There are a total of 177,866 registered Republican active voters in those counties. There are 127,913 Democrats. The Republicans have an advantage of 49,953 overall in those 38 counties.
Adair – Mandy Berg, Republican
Appanoose – Kelly Howard, Republican. It would cost almost $5,000 just in postage. “I do not have these funds in my budget.”
During the primary, Howard published ac opy of the ABR in the free countywide weekly paper. That cost $300. Another option is to print a flyer and include it in the weekly paper for a few hundred more.
“I plan on taking one of these two routes. Even though the political parties and special interest groups usually send their own ABR mailings, I want to promote absentee voting to everyone countywide equally.”
During the primary, she was allowed to add funds to the budget due to special election revenue. The plan was to do a countywide mailing, but “luckily” the Secretary of State did it.
“This saved my county money,” Howard said. “I was able to use the funds to purchase PPE for my polling places instead.”
Audubon – Lisa Frederiksen, Republican
Benton – Hayley Rippel, Republican. The county does plan to publish the form in local newspapers.
Boone – Philippe Meier, Democrat. The county plans to insert the form in the shopper.
Butler – Liz Williams, Republican
Cedar – Cari Dauber, Republican
Cerro Gordo – Adam Wedmore, Democrat. Office is unable to mail all 30,836 voters an ABR form.
“Though I would like to for their safety, the safety of our poll workers and to ensure voters a positive experience without the potential for delays at the polls or risk of contracting the virus.”
Wedmore said absentee voting is “safe, secure and includes multiple safeguards to ensure the integrity and security of the election process.”
“We saw zero cases of voter fraud or misconduct related to absentee voting in the primary and trust the safeguards and process to ensure the election system is protected,” he said.
Had he known the impact COVID would have on elections, he said he would’ve requested funds in his budget, but that had to be submitted in early December of 2019.
“If we could receive CARES money which was awarded to the State of Iowa to fund an absentee ballot request form mailing, I would do so. I feel it is a great use of funds as it allows all voters the opportunity to vote from the safety of their home. The fact is we can safely allow voters to vote absentee by mail without exposing the voters or our poll workers to the novel virus.”
Cherokee – Kris Glienke, Republican
Chickasaw – Joan Knoll, Democrat
Dallas – Julia Helm, Republican
Davis – Linda Humphrey, Republican
Des Moines – Terri Johnson, Democrat. The parties usually send out request forms for a general election and Johnson hopes they do the same this time.
“I wish the state could send out request forms for the counties because it worked great for the primary. We greatly appreciated (Paul Pate’s) effort and for the best voter turnout in Des Moines County since 1996. Thank you.”
Floyd – Gloria Carr, Independent
Fremont – Dee Owen, Republican. Budget constraints do not allow it to happen. Will publish in local newspapers.
“I wish that we could. The Iowa Secretary of State’s initiative to protect voters, auditor’s staff and poll workers for the primary election had an absolutely amazing response. We had record turnout. I wish the legislators would allow this again, but it doesn’t appear that will happen.”
Guthrie – Dani Fink, Republican
Hancock – Michelle Eisenman, Republican
Henry – Shelly Barber, Republican. According to the office, parties and at least two other groups or organizations will “do this sort of thing” in general elections. Everyone will get two or three different forms in the mail.
“So, I chose not to because of the cost. It’s still plenty early for those to come out yet. They haven’t started sending those out because we really aren’t supposed to start taking reuest forms until September.”
Howard – Julie Chapman, Democrat
Jasper – Dennis Parrott, Democrat
Keokuk – Christy Bates, Republican. “We are a small county and will leave the responsibility to voters as to whether they wish to vote absentee or at the polls.”
Mahaska – Susan Brown, Republican
Marion – Jake Grandia, Republican
Mills – Carol Robertson, Republican
Mitchell – Lowell Tesch, Republican
Monona – Peggy Rolph, Democrat
Muscatine – Leslie Soule, Republican. “The parties and the candidates will inundate voters with absentee request forms at this election and the voter can always call our office to request a form, which we will gladly mail to them, but it is not cost effective for us to mail a form to every voter.”
Pocahontas – Kelly Jepsen, Republican
Plymouth – Stacey Feldman, Republican
Ringgold – Amanda Waske, Republican. Likely to publish one in local papers.
“My decision was simply based around budget. We did not budget for the expense to mail to all registered voters.”
Sac – Jim Dowling, Republican
Tama – Laura Kopsa, Democrat
Union – Sandy Hysell, Republican. “I wish that I could because the turnout in the primary election was outstanding. But I just don’t have it in my budget to send every voter in Union County a request form. We are getting the word out through social media, radio and newspaper to please call and request one.”
Van Buren – Lisa Plecker, Republican
Winnebago – Karla Weiss, Republican
Winneshiek – Benjamin Steines, Republican. County doesn’t have the funds to do this.
“One thing to keep in mind is, for general elections, political parties and candidates distribute LOTS of them anyway.”
Worth – Jacki Backhaus, Independent. Cost is one reason, another is not having the staff to get it done timely.
“I also think that between the parties, AARP and any other group that also sends them out, people just get confused. People who want to vote will vote and we will be here to assist anyone who needs help.”
Wright – Betty Ellis, Republican. There was one in the paper for the primary. They will likely do that again.