A week from today, Clinton County voters will have the opportunity to participate in the primary election and Clinton County Auditor Eric Van Lancker is encouraging people to come out and vote.

The County Auditor’s Office has been working on the primary. Saturday, May 29, the office was open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. for voter pre-registration. The office will also be open until 5 p.m., instead of 4:30 p.m. on Friday, June 4, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 5. These extended office hours are to accommodate late absentee voting.

Van Lancker said that by Thursday, May 27, the office had received just short of 500 requests for absentee ballots. He said almost half of those ballots have already been turned in. Van Lancker said the absentee ballots seemed to be mainly Republican ballots. He said this could be due to the governor’s race on the Republican side. However, he also pointed out that the Democratic ballot has four candidates running for the District 13 state Senate position.

“But it does go back and forth every primary, depending on what the banner races determine,” said Van Lancker.

On May 26, the M100 ballot scanners were tested. Van Lancker said the test was smooth. Instructions have also been given to the precinct election officials in the five districts that will be using the new Precinct Atlas system: Bloomfield Township – Delmar; Eden Township – Low Moor; Olive Township – Calamus; Orange Township – Grand Mound; and Spring Rock Township – Wheatland. Van Lancker said more instruction sessions for election officials will be held this week.

“Well, I think what's important is what a primary is. It's not our typical election. This is the only election that we run that's actually a nominating process,” said Van Lancker.

Van Lancker is reminding people that they need to declare which party’s ballot they wish to vote on. He said if people wish to vote on the different party’s ballot, they can switch. This will change their party status on their registration. A person would then need to fill out a registration form to get their status changed back.

Polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. Anyone who has not pre-registered to vote may vote at their polling location as an election day registrant. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by June 7. Anyone with an absentee ballot who wishes to vote at their polling location must surrender their absentee ballot at the location. Van Lancker wanted to remind individuals from Clinton’s second ward, second precinct that their polling location is no longer the Graphics Art Building. They are to report to Calvary Baptist Church, 1619 Second Ave. South.

Results of the primary election will be posted on the County Auditor’s page at the Clinton County website, http://www.clintoncounty-ia.gov. Van Lancker said the website will not show the total outcome for any races  that include other counties, such as the District 13 state Senate race which also covers Jackson County and four districts in Dubuque County.

 Van Lancker said he feels voting in the primary election is important.

“We run this election for those two parties to nominate their candidates to go onto the November general election ballot. That's obviously a part of the entire important process of voting and selecting our leaders,” said Van Lancker. “It's just as important as going to the school board elections or the city elections or our general election coming up in November. It's kind of our right and privilege as citizens of the United States and citizens of Iowa to participate in the process to pick the leaders of our local governments and state government and federal government.”