By Isabella Senno, Emily Wangen and Sarah Watson
Early voting and absentee ballot-casting began Monday for the June primaries, and Iowa City high school students ensured at least a few more people will be able to cast their votes in this off-year election.
In February, Students Against School Shootings, a gun control activist organization comprised of local students, hosted a letter writing and register to vote event, where the group registered about 40 Iowa City City High and Iowa City West High School students, organizer Shayna Jaskolka said.
The senior at City High was one of those students who registered to vote, and said regardless of what party a person identifies with, voting is one of the easiest, most impactful way to make change.
“We really hope we are able to get people registered to vote even if it’s for someone that we may not agree with,” Jaskolka said. “I feel like if you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain if something doesn’t go the way you want it to because you didn’t express your voice – that was your chance.”
Fellow SASS organizer and City High sophomore Esti Brady said although she won’t be able to vote in this off-year election she said she plans to vote in the 2020 presidential race.
“I’m envious of people who can vote,” Brady said. “When we are encouraging people to register, I say ‘do it for me, and for people who can’t.’”
The June primaries will decide candidates for each party running in the November general election, including contenders for Governor, senators and representatives in the Iowa Legislature, as well as other state offices.
If not already registered to vote, you can register online, by mail, or in person at your county auditor’s office. College students can register either in their hometown, or in their university town, but not both.
Iowa is one of three states that permits people to register if they are 17 and a half years old and will by 18 by the time of the election. Iowans must either pre-register at least 10 days prior to the primaries or general election or the same day of the election or primaries.
Once registered, you can cast your ballot at a determined polling location. You can search for yours using a zipcode on the State Auditor’s website. Locations started accepting ballots Monday.
Phoebe Chapnick-Sorokin, a junior at City High and a founding member of SASS, plans to pre-register as soon as she is of age. She highly encouraged others to do so, describing the process as both quick and easy.
“I want to do it as early as possible and start making a difference as soon as I can,” she said. “There’s no reason not to pre-register. It’s the same as registering when you’re 18 but earlier, so whatever you can do to help the political process and make yourself heard and make your voice matter you should do.”
This is the first election year after the Iowa Legislature passed into law a requirement for voters to show identification at the polls.
Voters will be asked to show their identification at the polls for primaries and general election. This year, however, voters will be able to cast a ballot after sign an oath verifying their identity if they don’t bring a state-issued ID.
Starting in 2019, however, voters will have to show either an Iowa Driver’s License, Iowa Non-Operator’s ID, U.S. Passport, Military or Veteran’s ID, or a Voter ID card issued by the state for registered voters who don’t have another form of identification listed above.
Kim Reynolds – R
Gov. Kim Reynolds is running for a full term this November after becoming the state’s 43rd Governor following former Gov. Terry Branstad’s departure to become the U.S. Ambassador to China. She’s the only Republican running for candidacy in the June primaries, securing her a spot in the November general election to run against the Democratic candidate, which will be decided by June’s primaries.
A native Iowan from St. Charles, her top priorities have been creating good-paying jobs, cutting taxes, investing in public schools, and increasing opportunity in every part of Iowa, said her campaign website.
Nate Boulton – D
An attorney and state senator, Nate Boulton, D-Des Moines, is a ranking member on the Labor and Business Relations committee. He also serves on the Appropriations, Judiciary and Commerce committees. His careers as a legislator and a lawyer have both focused on aiding Iowa workers in several sectors, from public safety to education.
His campaign has emphasized improving collective bargaining rights for Iowa employees, pushing funding increases for schools and reevaluating the state’s current system of tax credits and exemptions, with a focus on reducing those available to large corporations.
John Norris – D
Former state and federal official John Norris brings experience in governmental staff leadership and agriculture policy to priorities centered around building a bridge between rural Iowa and the Democratic party. The Montgomery county native served as the Chief of Staff for Gov. Tom Vilsack, as a U.S. agricultural representative in the United Nations, and a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The small-operation-farmer’s top policy points focus on sustainable agriculture, reversing the privatization of Medicaid, and developing childhood education and insurance programs.
Fred Hubbell – D
Retired business executive Fred Hubbell has raised the most money out of any other candidate, topping three million dollars as of the end of January. The University of Iowa college of law graduate was the CEO of life insurance company Equitable Iowa, and was a past chair of the retail store Younkers and the Iowa Power Fund.
His priorities include investing in education and workforce development, as well as patching the mental health and substance abuse systems.
Ross Wilburn – D
Former Iowa City mayor Ross Wilburn is the current diversity officer and the associate program director for Community and Economic Development for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. He brings a background centered around municipal leadership, and prioritizes advocating for education funding, affordable healthcare, and restoring collective bargaining rights.
The current Iowa State University official is seen widely as a long shot candidate, raising a little under $10,000 as of January, and has said his campaign won’t run TV ads.
Cathy Glasson – D
Cathy Glasson is a Coralville nurse and the president of SEIU Local 199, a union chapter which represents healthcare workers with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, amongst other kinds of employees.
Glasson’s campaign centers around raising Iowa’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, implementing a statewide universal healthcare system and providing an easier path to unionization. In order to reflect a commitment to her values, Glasson’s staff were the first in this gubernatorial race to unionize.
Andy McGuire – D
A doctor from Des Moines, Andy McGuire is a past health insurance executive and a former chairperson of the Iowa Democratic Party. Coming from a background focused on healing, McGuire’s top priorities include ensuring that all constituents receive comprehensive mental and physical health care.
She is also a proponent of increasing school funding, combating environmental water pollution factors and encouraging rural economic development strategies.