Although Washington County, like much of the nation, has seen a large increase (nearly 3,000 to date) for absentee ballots, regular in-person polling stations will be in operation for the general election on Nov. 3.
In Kalona, polls will be in the gym in the Kalona Community Center, which is handicapped accessible, large enough to have social distancing and a separate entrance and exit for voters. It will also mark a return to the former voting station that was moved to the Kalona Library when the community center underwent extensive remodeling and a new gym.
“It meets all the criteria for social distancing and limited contact,” said Kalona City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh. The city will cover the gym floor with tarps, regularly used when non-sporting events are held in the gym.
Voting in Wellman will be in the Activities Center, and in Riverside in the City Hall meeting room, both of which also can meet safety and access requirements.
In Washington, plans call for using the new YMCA as a site, as well as retaining the supervisors’ office.
County Auditor Dan Widmer noted that in the last two general elections, in 2012 and 2016, there were about 5,000 absentee votes for each, but this year, based on the number of absentee ballot requests, he expects “it will be at or slightly more than 6,000”.
Total registered voters are slightly more than 10,000. Official county population as of 2019 is 21,965.