With all the scare stories now arising about the upcoming election, it’s time to remind ourselves that Iowa looks pretty good. We won’t have (shouldn’t have) long lines to vote on election day. We won’t have any touchscreens to go awry. We won’t have many registration problems. Let’s review our enviable situation.
No Touchscreens. This is Iowa’s signature accomplishment. We owe a big debt to Secretary of State Mauro who traded in the touchscreens as his first major step in office. Now all of us get to vote on paper. Polling places can arrange as many ballot marking booths as they need to prevent lines of voters. No votes will be lost to the dastardly touchscreen gadgets. It’s because of this victory that this blog has been so quiet lately. No sense in pointing out the state’s shortcomings when such a major change has just been engineered.
No Registration Problems. Iowans can register until the end of next week. If they miss that date, they get a second chance on election day. This means hardly any provisional ballots will be needed. Everyone with a good ID card should be able to vote without any prior preparation. You can check your registration right now at this website.
The Brennan Center (with help from Sean Flaherty of Iowans for Voting Integrity) has released a major report on the status of election readiness. Iowa is one of eight states given credit for “best practices” in ballot accounting and reconciliation. See the third map.
On the other hand, we fall into the black space on the bottom map regarding audits of the machine readout. That’s Mauro’s next challenge. Someone needs to hand count some ballots after the polls close to see that the machines got it right in their hi-speed readings. Haste makes waste! Slow down and double check the damned things!
That challenge is for the government to face next legislative session. If we get good audits we can join the list of only six states that get shaded green on the top map (Alaska, Oregon, California, North Carolina, and our neighbors Missouri and Minnesota).
For now the voters should see a welcoming environment at the polls. Any snafus will be local–not the fault of state law. Take advantage of our enviable situation by voting.
Update: Secretary of State Mauro has also been recognized for having the best official state election website in the nation! Talk about a welcoming environment! So look him up if you need to know anything about Iowa voting. Congratulations, Michael.