Iowa has options to help elderly voters

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Webster County Auditor Doreen Pliner explains how the voting machines can speak aloud candidates, using these headphones, if desired. The machines can also be used as a regular touchscreen machine, and print off a paper ballot showing the results.

In Iowa, voters have options. And some of those options are particularly helpful to the elderly.

And the voters of Webster County have been happy with their touch-screen election machines, according to county Auditor Doreen Pliner.

“The majority of people in this office have been voting on them,” Pliner said of the steady stream of early voters that have been visiting the Webster County Courthouse.

The machines are easy, she said. Voters can just touch the name on the screen, and the machine allows you to review your choices at the end, to make sure nothing was skipped.

“It’s quicker than filling out the paper ballot, especially now that straight ticket voting has been eliminated,” she said. “It’s just a quick push of the button.”

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Webster County Auditor Doreen Pliner explains the accessible features of the county’s voting machines. Blind voters or those with impaired vision can use headphones to hear the candidates spoken to them; and instead of using a touchscreen, can navigate the list using the arrows.

The machines are also handicap accessible.

For any voters who have trouble seeing, the machines can read their choices out loud.

Anyone who can’t see the screen to touch can use a direction pad instead, with the automated voice providing instructions.

Early voting opened this week, and will be available at the auditor’s office Monday through Friday up to the day before the election. The office will also be open two Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 27 and Nov. 3.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Webster County Auditor Doreen Pliner demonstrates some of the touch-screen voting machines available in her office for voting now. There are three standing machines available, and two at sitting stations. Six stations also accommodate voters filling out paper ballots.

As always, voters can also vote without getting out of the car on election day if they have trouble getting around.

If you are unable to enter the building where the polling place is located because of disability, precinct officials will bring a ballot out to your car, and you can mark it there.

One official from each political party will bring out the ballot.

Pliner said anyone can call the auditor’s office at 573-7175 from outside the polling places and someone will come out to help them.

Voters can also request help in filling out the ballot. Two precinct officials, one from each party, will be there to assist in filling it out. Any other person voters choose can also help as long as that person is not their employer, employer’s agent or an agent of their union.

Voters should bring their driver’s license or other photo ID to vote, Pliner said.

If they don’t have a driver’s license, all registered voters should have received a PIN number when they registered, she said. That number can be used to vote.

Anyone who is not registered can do so using approved forms of ID.

After the registration deadline of Oct. 27, people can still vote using same-day registration, using the forms of ID noted above.

“If you don’t have a photo ID, you can have somebody in your precinct attest for you,” Pliner said. “They will have to sign a form. … Someone who lives in the precinct and knows you can vouch for you.”

Voting can be done without even leaving home, by sending in a request for a mail-in ballot.

These requests should be sent as soon as possible, as ballots must be returned before Election Day.

The ballot is an ordinary paper ballot, like voters will find at polling places. Once it’s filled out, voters can place it in the secrecy envelope, place that within a mail envelope, and send it on its way.

Ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 5 this year and received by the office by Nov. 12 in order to be counted.

For more information

Contact the Webster County Auditor at 573-7175 or visit the county’s website here

Same Day Voter Registration:

If you aren’t registered to vote, you can still vote on election day. Voters are required to prove who they are and where they live.

Proof of ID:

• Driver’s license

• U.S. Passport

• U.S. Military ID

• ID card issued by employer

• Student ID issued by Iowa high school or college

• Tribal ID

Proof of Residence (if your driver’s license doesn’t list your current address):

• Residential Lease

• Utility Bill

• Bank Statement

• Paycheck

• Government Check

• Other Government Document