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Iowa ethics board offers opinions

By Staff | May 16, 2008

There seems to be a bumper crop of new growth as political signs in residential lawns throughout Emmet County as the date nears for the Tuesday, June 3 primary in Iowa.

Because there are numerous individuals seeking office, it’s time to review some of the rules which govern election procedures in Iowa.

All elections in this county come under the auspices of the office of Emmet County Auditor Bev Juhl.

She said the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board determines what is proper when campaigning and sets the guidelines for do and do not.

Topic: Individuals wearing law enforcement uniforms while campaigning.

The IECDB opinion is as follows: “The board does not believe there is a continuing transactional cost that would trigger the prohibition. Therefore, this section does not prohibit individuals from campaigning for office or for the passage/defeat of ballot issues while wearing law enforcement uniforms. The board notes this includes both photographs and ‘live’ campaigning.”

Topic: Permitted placement of campaign signs.

The IECDB opinion is property owner permission is needed for:

n Residential property.

n Agricultural land belonging to a family farm operation as defined in Iowa Code section 9H.1.

n Property leased for residential purposes including, but not limited to, apartments, condominiums and houses.

n Vacant lots owned by a private individual.

n Property belonging to any business, association or organization that is not a corporation, financial institution or insurance company.

n Property leased by a candidate, campaign, committee, or an organization established to advocate the nomination, election or defeat of a candidate from any type of entity placement of the sign is limited to the space that is actually leased.

n On property owned by the state, county, city or other political subdivision if the property is made open and available to any person from the public to lawfully place any type of sign.

Juhl also issues a reminder to voters that ballots are ready.

“Voters can come to the county auditor’s office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to cast their absentee ballots.

The auditor’s office will also be open on a pair of Saturday for absentee voting convenience. The dates are Saturday, May 24 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, May 25 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Ballots are kept under lock and key in this office,” Juhl said, noting no one can obtain a ballot from the Internet.

“The only way they leave this office is a voter has signed a request and the ballot is mailed to that person.

She also explained there is a nursing home team comprised of one Democrat and one Republican that visits all the nursing home facilities in the county.

“We first get the names of those nursing home residents who want to vote. Once we get that list, we get the ballots ready for the team to take to each nursing home.”

Juhl said she and the employees in the auditor’s office work hard to ensure that elections in the county follow proper procedure.

For more information or answers to other questions, call the Emmet County Auditor’s office, 712-362-4261.