Iowa Democratic congressional candidate J.D. Scholten urges all voters to “have a plan” for casting their ballots amid the COVID-19 pandemic and heated rhetoric about the integrity of the election.
“There’s just so much uncertainty,” Scholten said. “A lot of people are asking about voting and whether absentee ballots are going to be the right way to go or whatever. So what we say is, have a plan.”
Scholten said he plans to go the Woodbury County Auditor’s Office in Sioux City, his hometown, and vote a week before the Nov. 3 election.
“There are less lines when you go early, but each county is different,” Scholten said.
Scholten said voters should not follow what he says is President Trump’s illegal advice of voting absentee and then showing up to vote on Election Day.
“What the president has suggested is a felony, and nobody should be voting twice,” Scholten said. “Our campaign is actively telling our supporters to have a plan, and we will work with you on the plan, whereas what we hearing from the Trump campaign — for him to say ‘Vote twice’ is against the law.”
Scholten stopped recently in Carroll in the Hy-Vee parking lot as part of a 375-town tour of the sweeping 39-county 4th Congressional District. The tour started in mid-August and will run through early October.
Scholten said it makes sense to check with county auditors’ offices to make sure they have received absentee ballot requests and then to follow up with a phone call to make certain the ballot has been received. Auditors’ offices track such information.
“That’s where we are at right now,” Scholten said. “It’s not the best way, but this is the way we have to do it in the time of a pandemic. I’m going to be voting in person a week early because I know that’s the best way for myself. If you are healthy enough, I would consider doing something like that. If you’re going to vote by mail, I would make sure you do everything you can to make sure your ballot was counted.”
In Wilmington, North Carolina, earlier this month, Trump suggested people who vote by mail also “then go and vote” in person as well.
“They are going to have to check their vote by going to the poll and voting that way because if it tabulates, then they won’t be able to do that,” Trump said. “So let them send it in, and let them go vote. And if their system is as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they will be able to vote.”
Facebook removed video shares of Trump’s comments, with the social media giant saying the comment urged illegal behavior.
Scholten faces Republican State Sen. Randy Feenstra of Hull in the November general election. Feenstra defeated sitting Congressman Steve King in the June GOP primary.