Iowa’s new election laws and redistricting have caused confusion at the polls

Polk County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections Jamie Fitzgerald said his office worked diligently to ensure voters were well informed of any precinct changes.

POLK COUNTY, Iowa — Iowans now know which candidates will appear on the November ballot, battling through the summer for their vote. The results of the June 7 primary elections surprised some voters, as did new electoral laws and the effects of redistricting.

“We had some changes with the redistricting,” Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate said. “So it’s going to take some time for people to get used to the new sites. That’s why we got the message out early on about having a plan to vote successfully.”

Polk County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections Jamie Fitzgerald said his office was working diligently in partnership with the secretary of state’s office to ensure voters were well-informed of any precinct changes months before Tuesday’s primary election.

“By law, we covenant with the Secretary of State’s office to send every voter in Polk County a postcard that says, ‘Here’s your location. And here’s the Voter Ready website,'” Fitzgerald said.

Despite his efforts and those of his colleagues, Fitzgerald said these big changes were not clear to all Iowa voters.

“There’s probably a case in Iowa where someone went to the wrong place at the wrong time,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald noted there was a lot of guidance needed at polling centers to help find the right polling place for voters, but poll workers noted redistricting changes weren’t the only reasons why. some voters were thrown into a loop.

“We had a lot of confusion, a lot of anger at the polls at times when people didn’t want to declare a party. They wanted to participate in both the Democratic and Republican primaries. Under Iowa law , you have to pick one or the other. And so sometimes they picked one and they wanted to come back and pick another one. So it just doesn’t work that way, unfortunately, under the law of the game. ‘Iowa,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said the election was a good run ahead of the November election. He encouraged people to organize their voting plans before the sheets hit the ground.

“Send those requests in August if you want to vote by mail,” Fitzgerald said. “Voting will begin in October.”

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