Iowan Almost Missed First U.S. Vote, But Auditor Brought The Voter Back To Cast A Ballot

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Lauren Wade/IowaWatch

Voters cast the ballots at the University of Iowa Main Library on Nov. 6, 2018.

A new Iowa City voter who recently passed a test to become a U.S. citizen but had not yet participated in a swearing-in ceremony almost lost a chance to vote Tuesday.

But County Auditor Travis Weipert tracked the voter down so that the voter could return to the polling place and cast a ballot.

“I’m one of those who, I want you to vote if you’re a U.S. citizen,” Weipert said Tuesday night.

Weipert

The voter, at the IC22 precinct at Shimek Elementary School in Johnson County, was questioned about being eligible to vote when registering at the precinct. One of the first questions when registering asks if the person registering is a U.S. citizen. Answering incorrectly is a federal offense.

After initially conferring with Weipert, a poll worker advised the individual against voting, Weipert told IowaWatch. But Weipert then consulted with County Attorney Janet Lyness and they agreed that, at a minimum, the individual should be able to vote using a provisional ballot. But also, they determined, the person should be able to vote because of passing the citizenship test, Weipert said.

Weipart contacted the individual to say the person could register and vote. “We just always want to be safe. We don’t ever want to have someone run afoul of the law,” he said.

Now in his sixth year as county auditor, this was the first time Weipart had experienced an issue like this.

“It’s one of those questions you like to have. We want to see folks get out and vote that are citizens and have their civic right to do so,” Weipert said.

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