James Sasek headed to his polling place Tuesday evening with two goals. He wanted to vote in Polk County’s sales tax election and he wanted to test the effectiveness of Iowa’s new voter ID law. Sasek cast his ballot, but only after 10 minutes of negotiating with poll workers who were unsure how to handle a voter unable or unwilling to present identification, he said. Polk County’s sales tax vote Tuesday was the “soft rollout” of the state’s voter ID law that will eventually require Iowans to present an accepted form of identification before casting a ballot. The law does not go into effect until 2019, but county auditors are testing the system this year. Voters on Tuesday were asked to present an ID. Those who could not were supposed to sign an oath verifying their identity and receive a regular ballot.
Sasek, 35, knew as much walking into his Drake neighborhood voting precinct. “I walked in and said I wanted to sign an oath,” Sasek said. “(Poll workers) didn’t know what I was talking about.”
Sasek said he was told that he’d need to show an ID before voting. He pushed back. “It took about 10 minutes of convincing (the poll workers). And they attempted to give me a provisional ballot,” Sasek said.
That would have required him to provide a valid ID to the county auditor before Monday for his vote to count.