Early voting begins Thursday in Iowa - and the Marshall County Auditor's office will be prepared.
With approximately 3,700 absentee ballots already out, extra staff and voting area will be on hand Thursday.
"In order to best serve early voters, we've set up an area in the courthouse rotunda just off the auditor's office," said Williams. "We thought a separate area would allow voters to cast their ballots quickly and conveniently."
T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY
Judy Wasco, left and Laura Jefferson, both of Marshalltown and with the Marshall County Auditor’s office, are shown preparing absentee ballots in the Courthouse Wednesday. Ballots may be obtained from the Auditor’s office in the Courthouse Rotunda beginning Thursday.
Two Saturdays - Oct. 27 and Nov. 3 - have been reserved for voters to cast absentee ballots.
Also in October, Williams and staff will bring voting and registration opportunities to the people.
Satellite voting/voter registration stations will be available to Marshall County residents at three locations: Hy-Vee, 2500 S. Center St., Legends American Grill parking lot, 2902 S. Center St. and the Marshalltown Community College Student Union, 3700 S. Center St.
However, the major political parties in Marshall County have widely differing views on early voting.
Marshall County Democrats promote early voting while Republicans do not.
"Getting Democrats to vote early is a priority," said Kay Gill, Marshall County Democrat chairperson. "Voting absentee allows working Democrats, who might not be able to get to the polls, to cast their ballots and know it is done. Absentee voting allows minority, the sick and elderly to participate as well. More and more Democrats are voting absentee than going to a polling place on election day."
Mail solicitations and telephone calls have gone out to Democrat households for several weeks encouraging early voting.
"We don't encourage early voting," said Pete Rogers, Marshall County Republican chairperson. "We think voting should be done on election day in the voting booth. There is potential for fraud and other problems with absentee voting."
However, two registered Marshall County Republicans differed.
"I've voted absentee for years and will do for the 2012 election," said Jim Deninger of Marshalltown. "It is convenient and easy. I'm never sure where I am going to be on election day, so absentee voting is a sure way of knowing it is done and my vote will be counted."
Joining Deninger will be Judy Sefinga.
"I've voted absentee in the past at the courthouse," she said. "I'm retired and I don't like to go out in bad weather. This year I'm voting absentee by mail. I picked up several absentee ballots for friends and neighbors who are elderly or shut-ins. Voting absentee allows their voice to be heard ... I'm not sure some of them could make it to the polls otherwise."
Democrats will celebrate the first day of voting with a breakfast at their headquarters, 26 E. Main St., and then proceed to the courthouse.
Voters who are currently registered need not re-register unless they have changed residences from one county to another. A voter who has changed addresses within the same county as the voter is currently registered may change his/her voter registration address anytime before the election or at the voter's new polling site on election day.
"We started planning for early voting and the Nov. 6 election in mid-January," said Williams. "Next, we will begin training poll watchers."