Election Day is ten days away. The Scott County Auditor’s Office provides numerous opportunities for you to exercise your right to vote. We maintain five early voting locations at the Davenport branch libraries on Fairmount Street and Eastern Avenue, the Bettendorf Public Library, the Scott County Library in Eldridge and at the Auditor’s Office.  You can also vote at home through an absentee ballot.  We must receive absentee ballot requests by Friday, October 29 at 5:00 p.m.  Ballots returned by mail must be post marked or dated before election day, the latest date being November 1st.  Absentee ballots can also be hand delivered to our office on election day, but the voter’s Affidavit Envelope must be dated with a date prior to November 2, 2010.

Voter pre-registration ends on October 23rd.  Scott County residents who have registered to vote by that time will have their names appear in the election register of the precinct polling place. Mail-in registrations post marked October 23rd or earlier and received on Monday, October 25th will count as pre-registered.

Those who are not pre-registered should not despair.  Iowa allows election day registration for voters who are not pre-registered.  Voters must provide proof of identity through a picture ID, and proof of residency through an ID which lists their current residence address or from an additional document such as a residential lease, utility bill, bank statement etc.  For a complete list of acceptable forms of identification and proof of residency go to: www.scottcountyiowa.com/auditor; select “Voter Registration” under the “Voting” heading in the left-hand column; then select “Register to vote on Election Day”. 

Voters without identification may establish proof of identity and residency by the written oath of a person who is registered to vote in the precinct. (Parents of voting age children take special note, you can establish the identity of only one child per parent).

This election has seen a heavy emphasis on mail-in early voting.  As of October 23rd our office has received 16,649 applications for absentee ballots.  We have received only 10,400 back from voters, leaving 6,249 ballots not returned.  If you have not yet returned your ballot, please do so as soon as you vote the ballot.  Ballots must be dated or post marked before November 2, 2010.  Be sure to sign the Voter’s affidavit and write the date you mail in your ballot on the “Date” line of the Voter’s Affidavit.  Voters who are not pre-registered can register and vote early under the Election Day registration guidelines (see above).

There are several public measures on this year’s ballot, including:
Measure 1 – the Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy Constitutional Amendment,
Measure 2 – a provision for an Iowa constitutional convention,
Measure A – a provision for continued operation of gambling in Scott County, and
Measure B – for LeClaire voters only, a provision for borrowing money to construct and equip a municipal park in the City of LeClaire.

The full text of Public Measure 1 and Public Measure A are not on the ballot due to space limitations.  Instead, the full text will be found in the voting booths and mailed to voters voting from home.  Look for the yellow sheet, titled Iowa General Election November 2, 2010.

The Auditor’s Office needed to change two poll sites due to these locations not being accessible to older voters and voters with disabilities.  The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Voter Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 and Iowa law require that locations be accessible to such voters.   We know that these changes will cause some confusion and inconvenience for voters, but not making the changes could place the county at risk of legal action.

The United States Justice Department has begun enforcement measures against localities which do not make their polling locations accessible.  Recently the City of Philadelphia was required to make extensive improvements to voting locations and to pay a third party tester to review and evaluate the accessibility of voting locations in that city. The cost to the City of Philadelphia and the State of Pennsylvania is up to $500,000 not counting any improvements the city may need to make.

Living Hope Community Church (the former Grant Elementary School) replaces Garfield School.  Garfield school had numerous accessibility and privacy problems.  There was no off-street parking for handicapped drivers and no passenger drop-off zone.  The ramp into the building had a slope of greater than 5% and lacked handrails.  The walkways were unlit.  The entry doors would not allow passage of a wheelchair and voters using canes or crutches would experience undue difficulty in attempting to enter the building.  Voting was restricted to a hallway which did not allow for wheelchair access or provide for voting privacy.

Williams Intermediate School replaces Adams Elementary School. Similar to Garfield School, voting at Adams School was restricted to a hallway which did not allow for wheelchair access or provide for voting privacy.
Also, many polling locations will see the addition of new accessibility improvements.  These improvements can be as simple as additional signs or might involve portable ramps.  Voting at some locations will change within the building to increase accessibility or provide for increased privacy in voting.

The political parties and various candidates have mailed out absentee ballot requests to the voters.  The mailers say something like “Vote Early – It’s Easy,” or “Vote From Home – It’s Convenient.” They include a postcard absentee ballot application.  We have received some complaints about these forms because they include information such as driver’s license numbers and birth dates that may be considered confidential.

These solicitation are not sent by the Auditor’s Office. Our office does send applications, but always in an envelope. If you are concerned about the privacy of this information we encourage you to return the forms in your own envelope addressed to:

Scott County Auditor
Administrative Center
600 West 4th Street
Davenport IA 52801

Please include a notation on the front of the envelope: absentee ballot request.  As noted above, we must receive requests by Friday, October 29th at 5:00 p.m.