Local auditors office working to keep mail in voting secure

By: Donovan W. Mann – donovanm@977thebolt.com

Humboldt County, IA – The auditor’s office in Humboldt County is working hard to assure the security of every vote as the absentee period is open.

In three weeks the county along with nation will open up their polling locations for the 2020 General Election. However, those who has requested absentee ballots are now beginning to cast their vote whether it be in person or via mail. Humboldt County Auditor Peggy Rice talks about the process that her office goes through when handling mail in ballots.

She says “first thing off when we get them back we have to log them back in.” The auditor or one of her deputy auditor will go into the state system and the ballot will be matched the request forms received. This is to make sure that “everything matches up” in terms of who has filed a request form and who has sent one in.

The office will then make sure that the appropriate signature on the envelope is present. Rice says that the office will make an attempt have the voter come to her office and sign. If they fail to come and give their John Hancock within the allotted time period then their ballot will not be counted.

If the ballot has the appropriate signature and matches the records it is then securely locked up by the auditor. Rice says that the ballots will not be opened, counted or removed from their secure location until Election Day. She says the absentee board will come in on Nov. 3 and count the ballots.

Rice is confident in the mail in voting system that is in place. “Yes, we’ve had very good luck within our area.” She says the postal system is “very good” in this area as well. She says she’s already had many postal service representatives from the local, district and state level communicate with her. “to make sure everything is in order, to ask me if I had any questions, they have some questions they wanted answered.” Rice says there are “checks and balances” in place to make sure that things are secure. “And everything seems to go very well.”

When returning a mail in ballot Rice says residents will have a few options. They can put it directly in the mail if they feel comfortable to do so. If they want a more direct option then they can place it in the secure drop box at the court house. The only people with keys to the drop box at this time are the county auditor and deputy auditors. If voters wish to do so they can also take their vote in ballot directly to the auditor’s office on the second floor of the court house in Dakota City.

The deadline for someone to request an absentee ballot will be Saturday, Oct. 24. Voters can vote absentee up until the day before the election on Nov. 2 and mail in ballots must be postmarked by that day or they will not be counted. Absentee ballots can also be tracked online at sos.iowa.gov.