The coronavirus pandemic is impacting an upcoming special election in northeast Iowa.

At the request of Black Hawk County Auditor Grant Veeder, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate has agreed to postponed the scheduled March 24 vote to fill a vacant city council seat in Cedar Falls. The special election is being pushed back one week due to public health reasons. Voters will now head to the polls on March 31 to decide who fills the seat left vacant when Rob Green became mayor.

The deadline for making requests for absentee ballots by mail has also been extended an extra week, to March 27, Veeder said.

Black Hawk County's auditor is strongly encouraging voters to vote by mail to avoid going to the polls, if possible. He is directing the County Election Office to send absentee ballot request forms to all active registered voters.

Voters should start receiving the request forms this weekend. People who have moved or have been removed from the active voter list due to inactivity may not receive the forms, and should contact the Election Office at 319-833-3007 or election@co.black-hawk.ia.us.

For voters to receive a ballot by mail, their request form must be received in the Election Office by 5 PM on March 27. Ballots will then be mailed to voters requesting them, and must be postmarked March 30 or earlier to be counted. Postage will be prepaid for both the request forms and the ballots sent to the county. Veeder urges voters to send in request forms and the resulting ballots as soon as possible to make sure all ballots arrive on time to be counted.

Voting on Election Day will be limited to one location: St. John Lutheran Church, 715 College Street, upper level. While voters are asked to vote by mail if possible, voters who need to register or update their registration on Election Day will be able to do so at the church. On March 31, the polls will be open from 7 AM to 8 PM.

Voters may also vote early in person at the Election Office in the Black Hawk County Courthouse, 316 E. 5th St. in Waterloo. Pending further closures, the Election Office will be open for early voting on weekdays through Monday, March 30 from 8 AM to 4:30 PM.

According to a press release, absentee ballots that have already been submitted are not affected. No voter who has submitted an absentee ballot for the Cedar Falls council vacancy election needs to re-vote.

Voters don’t need to wait for ballot request forms to come in the mail to make a request. To find an absentee ballot request form online, go to the Black Hawk County website and under “Government” select “Elections,” and then “Absentee Ballots.” Or use this link: https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/pdf/absenteeballotapp.pdf.

For questions, contact the Election Office at 319-833-3007 or election@co.black-hawk.ia.us.

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