Your Views: Readers discuss 'unnecessary' absentee ballot request regulations, medians, Ernst, Greenfield, Trump

Your Views: Readers discuss 'unnecessary' absentee ballot request regulations, medians, Ernst, Greenfield, Trump

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Ugly medians

I travel Harry Langdon Boulevard and Veterans Memorial Highway nearly every day. The medians on Vets look beautiful. You often see employees of Mulhall’s tending the flower beds.

However, the medians on Harry Langdon look terrible. When first installed and planted they looked fair. Gradually plants started dying, but some of the bushes remained. Then last fall some entity/department chopped everything down and cleared the medians completely. I had hopes that this meant that in the spring someone would be replanting, but here it is mid-June and no sign of anyone taking an interest in the medians.

Now we have a lovely crop of weeds growing. This is a major entry into the city and very heavily traveled. I don’t know if the state or the city is responsible for taking care of the medians, but it sure does not give a very good impression to anyone using this street.

Norma Morford

Council Bluffs

Unresponsiveness from the Governor’s Office

On June 17 I called Gov. Kim Reynolds to voice a concern. After voicing my concern, I asked the person I was talking to for their first and last name so I could keep track of who I had talked with in the governor’s office. The woman who took my concern would only give me her first name. She refused to give me her last name and only after much prodding would she even give me her title. I then asked to speak to her supervisor. When her supervisor came on and again took my concern, I asked for her first and last name and position and she also refused to give me her last name.

When I asked her if this was a written policy of the governor’s office not to disclose last names she refused to answer and said that her supervisors had given her approval not to give out her last name. I then asked who her supervisors were — turns out they are the governor’s Chief of Staff Sara Gongel and Deputy Chief of Staff Paige Thorson.

Talk about lack of transparency. The Governor’s Office is now directing staff members, who are public employees, that they do not have to give out their entire names or their positions to Iowa taxpayers who call with concerns. Yet, in order to have my concern registered I had to give them my fist and last name and where I live. Now that seems pretty hypocritical.

As taxpayers we should always have a right to know who our public employees are and what positions they hold.

Come on — Gov. Reynolds — let’s do better. In this day and age, the more transparency we can have in government the better.

Vicky Rossander

Stanton

Why doesn’t Ernst and her supporters say the same thing about Trump?

Sen. Joni Ernst supporters run ads belittling Ms.Greenfield for having a failed business, even owing folks money?

But Ernst supports Donald Trump who did this numerous times. Killing jobs and business along the way. Double standard Republicans ... again!

Randall Washburn

Sioux City

Republicans create extra burden for auditors

Our Republican Iowa state legislature just couldn’t let it go. After the Senate’s extreme voter suppression bill was resoundingly rejected by the House, the senate had to slip into the budget bill in the middle of the last night of the session some unnecessary absentee ballot request regulations. If a voter provides incomplete or incorrect information when requesting a mailed absentee ballot, the county auditor’s office will be required to contact the voter first by telephone, then by email, then by physical mail, rather than using an existing voter registration database to fill in the blanks.

The law currently allows for the use of the existing voter registration database for correcting simple errors or incomplete information. This new “budget” bill prevents that from happening. Should you make a mistake, your already overworked county auditor will need to attempt several time-consuming ways of contacting you to verify that the address and all other completed parts of the application are indeed valid and that you are who you say you are.

This type of verification may be necessary when the county auditor has real concerns about the validity of the request, but this is not the case for minor errors or omissions. One can easily download and complete an absentee ballot request from the state of Iowa Secretary of State website, but heaven forbid you make a simple error that the county auditor could easily remedy by looking at the official voter registration database. This additional layer of regulation is just what we voters and taxpayers do not want nor need.

Our recent primary was an unqualified success for voter turnout of Republicans, Democrats, retired citizens, working citizens, those with compromised health, busy young parents who are overwhelmed with child care and work, because absentee ballots were easily obtained.

Our Republican secretary of state, with the support of all 99 county auditors (66 of whom are Republicans), sent the absentee ballot request form to every single registered voter.

With COVID-19, the safety of our citizens required this special emergency measure. What a model of good citizenship this was!

This new “budget” provision feels like a slap on the wrist to our state and county auditors for taking their jobs of overseeing elections seriously. A rose to them for making it easier for citizens to exercise their right and duty to vote. A thistle to our Iowa Legislature.

Barb Nelson

Stanton

A presidential salute

Like all Americans, I am so reassured that our president can salute 600 times within the span of a few days. His achievement is one for the Guinness’ book of world records for sure. Such a demonstration of patriotism by Mr. Trump is definitely worth the discomfort he sustained in his shoulder that made picking up a glass of water recently a bit challenging for him. Our president’s selflessness leaves me speechless.

Steven Pokorny

Urbandale

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