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Voter ID education in Johnson County

Voter ID education in Johnson County

Iowa’s voter ID law doesn't take full effect until 2019 but Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert knows it will take time to reach everyone.

“That's kind of why we're trying to do all this public outreach is to get ahead of that and get people prepared,” says Weipert.

On Sunday he spoke to citizens at an information session organized by Iowa City’s Fight for Voting Rights Team.

The law shortens the window for absentee voters from 40 to 29 days.

That means less time for voters and election office workers.

“That's thousands of people that vote within that 11-day window that I'm talking about that now are going to have to wait until 29 days before which requires a lot more staff and work on our end in the office,” says Weipert.

The law is intended to stop voter fraud and it requires people to have an Iowa Driver’s License or non-driver ID, a U.S. passport, a veteran or military ID, or a signed voter ID card.

However, with no picture on the new voter ID cards some still wonder what it will really accomplish.

“They have made enough compromises with the law that I don't think it really creates the security they were intending to create,” says Douglas Jones, an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Iowa who has worked in several elections.

The law also requires poll workers to check voters' signatures and for Jones that is a huge concern.

“There's no training for signature verification and there are no standards for signature verification,” says Jones.

The people at Sundays meeting agree it’s important to learn early and help educate as many voters as soon as possible.

“I think this first year is going to be kind of rough especially in some smaller counties that don't have the resources that a county like Johnson county or Linn county have,” says Johnson county resident Karen Disbrow.

There is a soft rollout for the law changes in 2018. Anyone who does not have an ID will to sign an affidavit attesting to their identity, and they will be allowed to vote a regular ballot.

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