WATERLOO, Iowa --- Black Hawk County election officials are looking to dispel incorrect rumors about the voting system for the Nov. 2 general election.
Auditor and Commissioner of Elections Grant Veeder said all absentee ballots are counted, contrary to a rumor they are only counted in close races.
"We put all the absentee ballots through voting machines just like they are handled at the precincts," Veeder said in a news release. "The votes are included in the totals for all races."
Logistically, he said it would be "mind-boggling" to attempt a last-minute count of absentee ballots in a close race. Conversely it would make no sense to count the absentee ballots and then only report them in a close race.
"The law allows voters a number of options on how to vote -- at the polls, through the mail, at the courthouse or at a satellite location," he said. "But the law makes no distinction between ballots. They are all counted the same."
Another rumor making the rounds concerns vote-counting on the judicial portion of the ballot.
"I've heard it said that if someone declines to vote at all on the judges, it will be counted as a ‘yes' vote," Veeder said. "There is no truth to this rumor, either. As with any other part of the ballot, a voter can choose whether to cast a vote or not. Unvoted races or issues are ignored by our tabulators, except to keep track of undervotes."
Generally speaking, Veeder wants to remind absentee voters to carefully read the instructions that come with the ballot.
Questions about voting rumors or procedures should be directed to the Election Office, 833-3007.