WAVERLY, Iowa⁠ — The Constitution of the United States of America guarantees the right to vote for each citizen. However, 54.65% of the 86 Wartburg students surveyed are not confident in following the process. An additional 37.21% stated some knowledge, but not full confidence. The survey was distributed via social media and email.

“If we want to change the world, we need to vote for politicians who can help make that change,” Emily Eliasson, a first-year music therapy student, said. “Normal citizens can only do so much before we need those with more power to help.”

To register to vote in Iowa, individuals can either register online or in person. Individuals may also download the National Mail Voter Registration Form on usa.gov and mail it to the location listed per state. Other common mistakes made by voters include attempting to vote at the wrong polling place failing to bring a valid form of identification, according to Dr. Mariah Birgen, Ward 3 polling station chair in Waverly, Iowa.

“The best thing would be a state of Iowa driver’s license or identification of some kind from the state, but we have lots of students who don’t have those,” Birgen said. “So, when you register to vote, the state sends you a sheet of paper that counts as your voter identification.”

There are two Waverly locations to vote that depend on a student’s residence location. On-campus students that live in the Manors or Knights Village may vote at Bartel’s Retirement Community, 1922 Fifth Avenue Northwest. Students that live in the Complex, Clinton Hall, Founders
Hall, Grossman Hall, Löhe Hall and the Residence may vote at the Waverly Fire Department, 123 First Street Southwest. Students unable to vote in person on Election Day may request an absentee ballot.

However, the student survey stated that 55.81% of participants did not know how to request an absentee ballot. Students can go to the Bremer County Courthouse at 415 East Bremer Avenue for an absentee ballot or go to sos.iowa.gov and download an absentee ballot request form. “It’s a safe way to vote,” Birgen said. “It allows you to vote at your convenience. It’s nice because if the weather’s bad or if you have a test coming up, you don’t have to run down and vote.

That’s very popular and something I really encourage others to do.” In the case of not having identification or going to the wrong polling station, provisional ballots are available. However, 75.58% of students do not know what a provisional ballot is and 86.05% do not know how to request one, according to the Wartburg student survey.

A provisional ballot is used to collect a vote when the voter’s eligibility is in question, according to usa.gov. In order to make sure the vote counts, individuals then have to go to the Bremer County Courthouse and provide a valid identification for voter eligibility.

“They want your ballot to count, but they need proof,” Birgen said. “There’s no reason why they wouldn’t say that works and that vote will be counted.” For more information on voting, go to usa.gov/voting.



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