Allamakee County Corner


by Denise Beyer, County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections

What is the purpose of the caucus?
The caucus is held in every state as an opportunity for each state to give their “vote” for who the Republican and Democratic parties should nominate as their candidate for President. The office of President/Vice President is not on the Primary ballot because that nomination is determined at the conventions of the Republican and Democrat parties.

What is a Primary election?
A primary election is held to nominate candidates for public offices for the Republican and Democrat parties, such as U.S. Senator or Representative, State Senator or Representative, and County offices. The Primary is unique because no one is actually elected, just nominated for the General election. The candidate(s) with the most votes at the Primary are put on the General election ballot.

Why is it important to vote in the Primary election?
If a voter wants to see a particular candidate’s name on the November ballot, it is important to vote for them in the Primary to help them win the nomination. If a political party has more than one person seeking the party’s nomination for an office, the candidate who receives the most votes will win the party’s nomination and that candidate’s name and party affiliation will appear on the ballot at the General election in November. If there are multiple positions available for an office, such as two seats for County Supervisor, two candidates from each party can be nominated in the primary election.

Why are there only two ballot styles during a Primary?
Currently, only the Republican and Democrat parties meet the criteria for holding a Primary election. The requirement to hold a Primary is a party whose candidate for President of the United States received at least two percent of the total votes cast for all candidates in the previous general election. Voters must choose either the Republican or Democrat ballot, not both. Candidates are only listed on the ballot of their party affiliation.

Who can vote?
The Primary election is the only election where you cannot cross political party lines when voting. You cannot vote for both Republicans and Democrats. You must choose one party and vote the ballot for only that party.
You CAN change your party registration for the Primary either at the Auditor’s office or at the polls. You do this by either stopping in the Auditor’s office during business hours or simply by declaring which party ballot that you want when you sign in at the polls. Doing either of these will change your official voter registration.

What if I want to change my party affiliation back after the election?
If you change your party affiliation for the Primary, either at the Auditor’s office or at the polls, and want to change it back, you can mail an updated Voter Registration form to the Auditor’s office after the election, or stop in the Auditor’s office after the election to fill out an updated Voter Registration.

When can I vote?
Absentee voting began in the Auditor’s office April 28. You can request an absentee ballot by mail until June 3, or vote in the Auditor’s office between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday through June 6. The polls will be open Election Day, June 7, 2016, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

General questions: Contact the Auditor’s office at 563-568-3522 to obtain an absentee ballot request form, ask where your polling place is, or to ask any election questions.