Concerned about mail-in voting in Story County? Here's what the auditor has to say
Story County Auditor Lucy Martin wants to calm election anxieties as hundreds of people have called into her office worried about mailing in votes for November's election.
This election cycle has been marked by concerns over mailed-in ballots. President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized mail-in voting. Democrats have called recent changes to the United States Postal Service "sabotage" of the agency ahead of November.
Absentee ballot lawsuits in Iowa only added to these fears votes won't be counted. In Story County, Martin said the auditor's office has mail-in voting under control.
"There's a lot of floating anxiety and fear out there, between COVID-19 and people worried about the Post Office, and it being a general election cycle," Martin said. "That's just a real stew of anxieties."
Normally, Story County mails out about 4,000 ballots the first day they are able to. This year, their office already processed 14,000 requests as of Sept. 16, Martin said. Voters can expect their ballots after Oct. 5, the first day the office can send them out.
The idea of voter fraud via mail-in voting holds no validity, Martin said.
"It's a very safe process," she said. "We've always had a really robust system of absentee voting in Iowa for decades now. There are just so many horrible lies and bad information and disinformation being propagated out there."
Many concerns come from people receiving multiple ballot request forms.
Martin said each year the Center for Voter Information, the Republican Party of Iowa and the Iowa Democratic Party all send out ballot request forms which leads to voters getting multiple forms.
Due to COVID-19, Secretary of State Paul Pate's office is sending out request forms.
The only time the Story County Auditor's Office sends out request forms is after a voter calls and requests one or the office receives an incomplete form.
Receiving multiple forms is common, Martin said, and sending back multiple forms still results in receiving one ballot.
Voter concerns also spiked after lawsuits and temporary injunctions targeted Linn, Johnson and Woodbury Counties' pre-populated forms. The only concern in those cases are the prepopulated voter identification number which are not on Story County forms.
As far as the ballot getting back in time, Martin said they have been receiving mail at the usual rate via the Post Office, but people can go to the Story County Auditor's Office to drop it off by hand. Like every year, Martin recommended returning the ballot as soon as possible, especially when mailing.
Voters should also remember to sign the affidavit, which is on the envelope, Martin said, and not to sign their spouse's.
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