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Local groups and government officials prepared for the November elections

BY CORY PORTER | SEPTEMBER 24, 2014 5:00 AM

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As the Nov. 4 election draws closer, efforts to register voters are starting to ramp up, including local efforts in celebration of the National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday.

A table set up by the League of Women Voters Johnson County was at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and representatives were there talking to people about voting and helping people register.

By 4 p.m., they had helped 17 people register to vote.

“We’ve registered a few people, not a huge number, but a few people,” said Naomi Novick, a representative from the League of Women Voters of Johnson County.

In addition to the league, University of Iowa Student Government also held an event in regards to National Voter Registration Day.

“We appreciate any effort that anybody makes to register voters and we appreciate the League [of Women Voters] and all of the other organizations that are working on Voter Registration Day,” said John Deeth, a clerk in the Johnson County Auditor’s Office. “Because there’s always somebody who isn’t reached by a campaign or isn’t going to be found any other way.”

As of Monday, the number of registered voters in Johnson County was 89,003, Deeth said.

Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert has been busy preparing for early voting, which starts on Thursday.

Voters can stop by the Johnson County Auditor’s office at 7:45 a.m. on Thursday to vote early, as well as from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m at the Iowa City Public Library to cast their ballot.

Anyone who lives in Johnson County and is registered to vote may vote early, Weipert said.

After Thursday, Weipert said he and his office will set up various early voting sites all over the county, from Friday night high-school football games and UI residence halls to farmer’s markets and the Old Capitol Town Center.

Weipert said his goal is to make Johnson County the No. 1 site when it comes to voter turnout and in order to do that the county has to take “voting to the people and not make them come to you.”

Likening it to an outreach program, Weipert said one of the biggest hurdles the Auditor’s Office faces is making sure people from the smaller towns in Johnson County are interested in the idea of voting early.

“We don’t want to make the taxpayers pay for stuff … if we aren’t getting a lot of voters to come out, but some of these sites, it requires us to go out two, three, four times before the voters get engaged and keep coming back and make it worthwhile,” Weipert said.

Deeth emphasized how crucial any voter registration effort was.

“Those kinds of turnout efforts and absentee voting efforts and registration efforts could literally mean the difference of control of the United States Senate, which of course entirely affects what the president will be able to do in his last two years of office,” he said.


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