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The Scarlet & Black

Early voting encouraged in Grinnell

Photo by Leina’ala Voss

By Megan Tcheng

As the election season nears its November finale, voters across the country are gradually preparing to cast in their ballots.

While some voters may still be experiencing cold feet or confusion surrounding their candidates of choice, many political supporters are already poised to finalize their votes in pen and paper.

For residents of the greater Grinnell community, Poweshiek County currently offers a range of different options for early voting.

Early voting, which can be completed by mail or in person between Sept. 29 and Nov. 8, allows voter to cast their ballots before Election Day. In the past, Poweshiek Country has registered thousands of early voters, which, in turn, have helped to ease Election Day chaos.

Photo by Leina'ala Voss
Photo by Leina’ala Voss


Anna Schierenbeck ’18, co-chair of Grinnell’s Campus Democrats student group, explained the potential benefits of early voting.

“It is important to vote early because Election Day can be unpredictable, both in terms of weather and in terms of people’s schedules. In order to make sure that your vote will be counted and that you will have enough time to vote, it is a good idea to know when and how you can vote early,” Schierenbeck said.

Diana Dawley, the county auditor and commissioner of elections for Poweshiek County, offered a similar perspective.

“I think [early voting] can be a real advantage for people in Poweshiek County. We have a lot of people come in and say that they have positions or personal conflicts that keep them from voting during the day. [Early voting] allows people to … take their time and vote according to their own schedules,” Dawley said.

Any Poweshiek County resident can submit their vote early by following one of several official procedures. For voters who prefer to make their decisions in private, individuals can request an absentee ballot request form and submit their ballot via mail. Early voters can also cast their vote at one of several satellite voting stations. Additionally, satellite voting stations will also offer opportunities for voter registration.

Currently, three different satellite voting stations are scheduled for the Grinnell community. The stations will be located at a range of rotating locations, including Drake Community Library, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance and Grinnell College, and will take place during the day on Oct. 12, Oct. 29 and Nov 5.

Unlike the time intensive process of Election Day, early satellite voting offers a streamlined and effective way to cast your ballot. With reduced wait times and limited paperwork, the entire process takes an average of six to ten minutes.

Schierenbeck stressed the importance of early voting for students at the college.

“If you go to a [polling location] at six p.m. on Election Day, you may not be able to vote until nine p.m.,” Schierenbeck said. “That’s way too much time for students to take out of their day. We don’t want students to have to choose between studying and casting their ballot.”

For students at the college, satellite voting offers the additional advantage of convenience. Due to changes in location availability, the Election Day polling station was recently moved from the centrally located Grinnell Community Center to the Elks Lodge. Located on East Street and clocking in at a 15 minute walk from campus, the new polling location offers its own set of difficulties in respect to student accessibility.

“We have organized for transportation to and from the Elks Lodge on Election Day, but, depending on the weather, that can be really rough. … Voting on campus will take way less time, because the JRC location will primarily be filled with students voting on campus. You are not going to have to wait in a line with everyone from Poweshiek County on one day,” Schierenbeck said.

As students on campus and voters across the country prepare for the election, Schierenbeck and Dawley both encourage members of the community to cast their votes early.


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