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In addition to the 38 Iowa counties that have said they will not send out absentee request forms to all registered, active voters, 26 more said they are not planning on it.

The Iowa Standard contacted all 99 auditors. Eighteen told us they would. Thirty-eight said they would not. These 26 are not planning on it, but obviously that could change.

Democrats hold a huge advantage in the counties that will send out ABRs. Republicans hold a near 50,000-voter advantage in counties that said they will not send out ABRs and have a near 30,000-voter advantage in these counties that say they are “not planning” on it.

This list includes a few Republican strongholds in Northwest Iowa — Dickinson, Lyon and Osceloa.

Buchanan – Cindy Gosse, Democrat.

Carroll – Kourtney Irlbeck, Democrat.

Cass – Dale Sunderman, Republican

Clayton – Jennifer Garms, Democrat. Would have liked to, but it is not financially feasible.

“Many smaller counties will be unable to do a mailing due to budgeting constraints. Having the state conduct a statewide mailing was better as there are price breaks when you reach certain numbers and there would be uniformity. Our budget could then be focused on the extra envelopes and postage that would be needed to process requested ballots for mailing. We will strive to get the word out through all forms of media. We may also consider printing the form in the area newspapers.”

Decatur – Stephanie Daughton, Democrat. Simply too cost prohibitive.

“Coupled with the fact that we are a three-person office and are kept plenty busy with the absentee season as it is without compiling a mailing for nearly 5,000 individuals.”

Delaware – Carla Becker, Republican. Kept all precincts open during primary and plan to for the general as well.

“We are also anticipating that the candidates and parties will send out absentee requests to many of our voters.”

Dickinson – Lori Pedersen, Republican. Will just provide to those who request.

“This is how we have done it in the past and works well especially since the parties themselves normally do a mass mailing to their constituents. It gets confusing to the voter when they receive multiple forms in the mail, and many to our dismay send in all forms received. We also do not have the financial resources to send to all voters.”

Emmet – Amy Sathoff, Democrat. No funds for it.

Grundy – Rhonda Deters, Republican. Not in the budget as it was unforeseen. Expects to publish a request form in local newspapers. Also plans to make forms available on website as well as county Facebook page. They’ll also be available to city clerks and at local libraries.

“It is unfortunate that the legislature has removed the ability of the Secretary of State to mail absentee ballot request forms to registered voters and the legislative council has denied Secretary Pate’s request to do so. The direct mailed absentee ballot request form was very well received by our voters and led to historically high voter turnout in the primary elections.”

Humboldt – Peggy Rice, Republican

Ida – Lorna Steenbock, Republican

Iowa – Jessica Stohlmann, Republican

Jackson – Alisa Smith, Republican

Jefferson – Scott Reneker, Republican

Jones – Janine Sulzner, Republican. Sufficient funds for it are not in the budget.

“I will not reduce the number of polling places from the eight that we have had in place since last November. Any possible reduction to the number of precinct officials at the polls due to projections of lower polling place turnout would be minimal and would nowhere near offset the additional cost of an absentee mailer, postage and envelopes for increased absentee voting activity, nor the additional costs necessary to increase staff needs to process the requests, and to increase the special precinct board size to process the potential increase in voted absentee ballots.”

County had more than a 40 percent absentee turnout in 2018. This was generated primarily by mailers from both parties, candidates from both parties and other organizations.

Kossuth – Amber Garman, Democrat. “I plan on doing a lot of things to encourage absentee voting plus there is a lot of different entities, for instance the political parties and/or political candidates that do mailings of absentee ballot request forms before a general election.”

Lee – Denise Fraise, Democrat.

“I have struggled with this. I would like to do a county-wide mailing, but the cost of such mailing is prohibiting me from doing so. I do not have it in my budget.”

Fraise also assumes the parties and candidates will mail out request forms.

Louisa – Sandi Elliott, Democrat

Lucas – Julie Masters, Republican.

“We are a smaller county and it is cost prohibitive to mail to everyone.”

Recommends anyone who wants to vote absentee to do so.

“In the same sense, I know there are those who prefer going to the polling place and we are taking extra precautions to make it as safe as possible for them and our election officials as well.”

The county recently put in place a website to make it easier for people to get information and obtain ABRs. They also plan to work with local papers to keep the public informed.

Lyon – Jen Smith, Republican

Madison – Shelley Kaster, Republican

Osceola – Rochelle Van Tilburg, Republican

Shelby – Mark Maxwell, Republican

Wapello – Kelly Spurgeon, Democrat

Warren – Traci VanderLinden, Democrat

Wayne – Michelle Dooley, Independent

Author: Jacob Hall


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