In fact you don't have to wait for Election Day or avoid long lines at the polls, you can vote right now.
Your first step is to register to vote. The Cherokee County Commissioner of Elections and County Auditor, Kris Glienke, reminds county residents and new residents to Cherokee County to register to vote, you must by 18 years of age on Nov. 4 to be eligible to vote.
The Voter Pre-Registration deadline for the General Election is Oct. 25, and the Election Commissioner's office will be open on Saturday, Oct. 25 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for pre-registration and absentee balloting, and Nov. 1 from 8 a.m. of 5 p.m. .
If you're a registered voter in Cherokee County you can pick up your absentee ballots for the general election, which are now available at the Auditor's office located in the Cherokee County Courthouse.
Or, if you're unable to vote on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, you may stop in or call the Auditor's office at 225-6704 to receive the absentee request form.
The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot by mail is 5 p.m. on the Friday prior to the election, Oct. 31. You may vote absentee at the County Auditor's office until Monday, Nov. 3. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked also by Monday, Nov. 3 or you may hand deliver your voted ballot to the Auditor's office by 9 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 4.
You can also download the form at the County Website and send it to the Auditor's office.
Recently the County Auditor office purchased several Voter Assist Terminals (VAT). These terminals will help make voting easier for people will disabilities. The VAT helps by increasing the size of the ballot with a zoom-in or zoom-out feature for folks who are sight impaired.
For people who are hearing impaired, the VAT has a set of headphones to allow the ballot to be read to a voter. You can even increase the speed in which the ballot is read to you. There is even a sip and puff outlet on the VAT for voters who are quadriplegic. There will be one VAT in every precinct in Cherokee County and one at the County Auditor office.
The VAT is very user friendly; you start by taking an empty ballot and inserting it into the VAT. Then the VAT walks you through each candidate for each office or public measure that is on the ballot. After a voter is done the VAT will mark the ballot and then it will kick out the ballot that was inserted earlier in to the VAT. Then all a voter has to do is drop it in the ballot box to be counted just like any other ballot.
On Oct. 8 the Auditor's office will be holding training exercises for voters with disabilities. At 9:30 a.m. clients of the Cherokee County Community Service will be at the Cherokee Work Activities Center and the clients of Plains Area Mental Health will be at the Cherokee Mental Health Institute at 1:30 p.m. Both locations will have staff members of the Auditor's office who will be on hand to help voters with disabilities go through the voting process, along with pre-registration.
On Oct. 29 and Oct. 30 the Auditor's offices will be hold mock elections at the Cherokee Community Center. This will give an opportunity for poll workers and other election officials to have a run-though of how Election Night will be.
The final helpful tool that the Auditor's office is currently utilizing to help voters with the General Election is the County's Website. There you can get a voter registration form, absentee voting instructions, and absentee ballot request form and sample ballots of the General Election. There is also a link to the Iowa Secretary of State website there you can find out if you are registered to vote. This is extremely helpful for college students.
The County website also offers maps where you can find what precinct and township you're in and where you need to go to vote and the website has pictures of each voting location. Also, the website has a map of the wards in the City of Cherokee.
These efforts by the staff at the County Auditor's office will help you make a more informed decision and make voting easier on Election Day. Election Day is Nov. 4 and polls will be open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The county website is www.cherokeecountyiowa.com.