Wednesday, February 7


As if it isn't hard enough to get people out to vote, Iowa Republicans want to shut the polls down at 7pm. On the other hand, the highest number of provisional votes (questionable votes) are cast between 7 and 9 pm in Johnson County.

Personally, I like Jennifer Brunner's, Ohio's new Secretary of State, idea to treat poll duty like jury duty and to draft enough workers to serve the need. Brunner believes the move would lower the average age of poll workers from 72 and ease the workload. Ohio has about 47,000 poll workers _ or just over four per precinct.

According to the Daily Iowan

When asked to sum up a Republican-sponsored proposal to close election polls in the state at 7 p.m. instead of 9 p.m., Johnson County's top election official could only revert to sarcasm.

"Well, I guess [the lawmakers] were addressing a serious problem in this county - too many Democratic votes," said Tom Slockett, the county auditor.

Slockett, a Democrat, said Democratic voters - who dominate elections in Iowa City and its surrounding areas - tend to vote later in the day.

"Then we have working couples, married people with children, who get home from work late and have to take care of the kids," Slockett continued in humor. "And then they have the nerve to trouble our poll workers from 7 to 9 at night."

But bill sponsor Sen. David Johnson, R-Ocheyedan, said the legislation is driven not by sheer partisanship but the practical difficulty of finding poll workers, especially in rural areas. Often, he pointed out, precinct officials - many of whom are elderly - must commit to working 14 to 16 hours on election day. Despite this assertion, the AARP is on record as lobbying against the measure.

"The bottom line is, there's plenty of time to vote," between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Johnson said. "We're not disenfranchising anybody."

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