Tuesday’s election will be a little different for people in Iowa. For the first time, voters will have to show identification to cast a ballot.
There are a range of IDs that can be used. Most, we would assume, will just be able to pull out a driver’s license. For others, a military ID or passport will do the trick. Information on what forms of identification are valid is in today’s paper.
We’re not going to debate the question of voter ID laws here. As far as Tuesday goes, it’s a moot point. The law is in place for Iowa.
There will be some who, inevitably, miss the message. That could cause some issues when they go to vote. If there are questions about it, please don’t take frustrations out on the poll workers. They didn’t make the law, but are bound to enforce it. The volunteers who spend long hours at the polls on election day aren’t the right targets for any protests.
The best move is probably going to the polls with someone who has an ID. A person who knows you and has proper identification can attest, or say under penalty of perjury, that they know who you are and that you’re an eligible voter at the precinct. That will allow you to cast a ballot.
If that’s not an option, there are always provisional ballots. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate called those the election’s “failsafe” method, the means by which someone without other options for immediately proving their identity can still cast their votes.
Beyond all of this is the fact that the 2019 election is local. There aren’t state or federal seats up for election. That usually drives numbers down. We hope people won’t skip out on the election, though. Local governments are far more important than people often realize.
Who’s going to fix streets? The state may give some funding, but it’s up to local governments to make the decisions that actually lead to the work being done.
Who’s going to decide whether to build a new school? Again, state and federal grants may be available, but it is the local board’s decision on whether or where to begin construction.
Local government decisions have a direct impact on residents’ daily lives that goes far beyond what many people think about. Those elected officials make decisions that have an almost immediate effect on their communities. Their proximity to events is far closer than people who cast their votes in legislatures in Des Moines or Washington, D.C.
Elections — all elections — are the opportunity for people to have their voices heard. It is the way our system works. This is the chance to have your say, to determine who executes decisions in your name and spends tax dollars you pay.
We don’t agree with those who say if you don’t vote you have no voice later. But those who choose not to vote do forfeit their ability to shape policies in the most powerful way available to Americans. It’s not a right to be surrendered lightly.
So, please, take the time to make an informed decision. Take the time to go to the polls on Tuesday. There’s a lot at stake.
Just remember to bring an ID when you go.