It is time to vote

Ragan Report: Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. You can vote any time be-tween now and 9 p.m. that day.

As of Oct. 26, more than 287,000 Iowans—including 5,326 in our Senate district—already have voted by mail or at early polling locations. On the ballot this year are candi-dates for Congress, Governor and other statewide offices, the State Legislature and local offices.

Early voting is a good idea because it may take a little longer to fill out your ballot. Straight-party voting has been eliminated. You’ll need to go through your ballot from top to bottom and choose your preferred candidate for each office. Remember to turn the ballot over! Judges and non-partisan offices are on the back.

When voting in person, you will be asked to show identification. However, an ID is NOT required to vote. Those without proper ID will be asked to sign an oath veri-fying their identity before cast-ing their ballot.

If you are not yet registered to vote, you can register when you go to cast your ballot—just bring along proof of your residential address. You must be a U.S. citizen, an Iowa resi-dent and 18 years old by Elec-tion Day.

Voters also decide whether to retain Iowa judges based on professional competency. In a retention election, judges do not have opponents. If a judge receives a majority of "yes" votes, the judge will serve another term.

If you need to know more about the judges on this year’s ballot, the Voters Judicial Di-rectory (tinyurl.com/IA-judges-18) explains how retention elections work here in Iowa, provides each judge's bio, and includes factors to consider when deciding whether to re-tain a judge.

The Iowa State Bar Associ-ation also has released a guide (tinyurl.com/ISBA-judges) that rates judges on issues, includ-ing knowledge and application of the law, temperament, com-munication skills, timeliness of rulings and impartiality.

Sen. Amanda Ragan (D-Mason City) serves Franklin, Butler and Cerro Gordo counties in Senate District 27. She can be reached at 515-281-3371 or 641-424-0874. Email her at aman-da.ragan@legis.iowa.gov.