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060518-qct-election-002

Election workers sign people in to vote June 5 at the District 64, Duck Creek Park Lodge polling facility in Davenport. Auditors said only a small number of voters signed an affidavit rather than showing identification, as is now required by law.

Quad-City area election officials said Wednesday they got complaints from some voters during Tuesday's primary over the new requirement that they present an identification at the polls.

Also, whether it was as a form of protest or because they did not have an ID when they came to the polls, some people signed affidavits verifying their identity before casting ballots.

Tuesday's primary was the first time Iowa voters had to present an identification at the polls, the result of a law passed by the Republican-led state legislature in 2017.

Backers of the law say it will prevent fraud, but critics say it's merely a way to suppress votes.

The law is being phased in, so voters who did not have an ID Tuesday had some options. The easiest is that they could sign an affidavit swearing to their identity and then vote as they have previously. (This will not be allowed in 2019.)

"We had a few voters balk at the idea of having to present an identification to vote," said Eric Van Lancker, the auditor in Clinton County. He said the oath was "used frequently," but did not have an estimate of the number of times.

Scott County Auditor Roxanna Moritz said Wednesday that she would not have figures on how many signed affidavits until the end of the week, but that a spot check of a handful of polling places showed some people used it.

There also appears to have been confusion among some poll workers about what to say to voters who did not have identification.

Moritz cited one instance in which a voter called her cell phone after presenting an expired driver's license and wasn't immediately told she could sign the affidavit and vote.

"It was confusing to some of the poll workers what was acceptable and what was not acceptable," she said.

In some instances voters did more than just sign oaths as a form of protest.

Van Lancker said he was aware of a couple of cases where voters were rude to poll workers. One of the election officials, he said, even came close to calling the authorities.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Van Lancker said, "Voter ID protesters: Keep that out of our polling locations! You want to complain, call your County Auditor. Or your state legislators who voted for it. Please stop causing our poll workers grief. They are following Iowa’s law & you should be thankful for their service."

On Wednesday, Van Lancker said he understood the objections but that poll workers have a duty to uphold the law.

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