Pate: Make your voice heard in city elections

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate 

Tuesday Iowans will cast their votes in city elections across the state and Iowa's chief elections official is encouraging more voters to be part of the process.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate said Iowa is one of the top states in the nation for voter registration and participation, but those numbers are considerably lower for city and school board elections.

Mayors and city councils are chosen through municipal elections. It goes beyond that to affect decisions regarding "public safety, fire departments, streets and parks, housing and jobs," which is why it's important to vote in these types of elections, Pate said.

"The front line of that is city elections," said Pate. "That’s how we get things done in our governmental systems. Your voice does count."

Some 30 percent of your property taxes go to city governments, Pate explained.

"Just from where your taxes go to, these are very important things for [voters] to have a voice in."

Pate said there will be a "soft rollout" of the controversial Voter I.D. bill that then-Gov. Terry Branstad (R) signed into law in May. Tuesday, Iowans will be asked to show their driver's license non-operators' ID, military ID or passport to get them "used to [the process]," Pate said. But if they don't have an I.D., they will not be turned away. Instead, they will be asked to sign affidavit swearing to their identity.

If Iowans do not have any of the required forms of I.D.—some five percent of Iowans, Pate said—they will be sent a state-issued voter I.D. card in December.

Beginning in 2019, voters will be required to show accepted forms of I.D. at the polls.

Pate said his office is working to ensure that voters have all necessary information about the procedural changes taking place by dispersing fact cards and working with county auditors and other groups statewide to explain the process.

You can find where your precinct and polling is by visiting the Secretary of State website and giving your zipcode.

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