The upcoming election will likely be one we all remember for a long time. We still deal with the social, economic and public health effects of the pandemic. We still encounter the effects of racism and police brutality despite protesters’ continued efforts to call it out. Rioters and other bad actors continue to use these opportunities to sow civil and social unrest. Foreign actors continue their misinformation and disinformation campaigns to influence our elections. Some of our elected leaders put up with attacks on our democratic institutions and norms because they seem to be more worried about keeping power than fulfilling their oaths of office.

It is easy to get discouraged. But we must not let that happen. And we have our strongest defense of democracy coming up — our ability to vote in free and fair elections.


First, since voting will be different this year, we encourage our readers to have a plan to vote. If you are comfortable doing so, consider voting early and in-person. Early voting in Iowa starts next week — Monday, Oct. 5 — and continues until the day before Election Day — Monday, Nov. 2 — and is available at several sites around the county. Acting early could helpt to alleviate pressure on both our mail and day-of voting infrastructure.


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For those who need to vote by mail, request your ballot now and make sure you know what you need to do to ensure your vote counts. Also, be sure to track your ballot to ensure it arrives properly. For those of you voting in person, make sure you are able to take the proper precautions for voting in a pandemic. For everyone, make sure you know the appropriate deadlines and vote as early as you are able.

► ‘We need healthy Iowans’: Counties scramble for election workers in wary COVID-19 world

Second, if you are young and healthy, consider volunteering to be a poll worker. Many of our poll workers will be unable to volunteer this year due to the pandemic, and it is a time when we need more, not fewer, volunteers at the polls. Our volunteer poll workers are essential to maintaining a free and fair election process.

Finally, we should all get comfortable with the fact that there’s a good chance we will not know who won the presidential election on Nov. 3. This will not be a function of a rigged election — in fact, it will be just the opposite. It will be a function of our state and local election officials from across the country seeking to ensure an accurate count of our votes. Many of our elected officials and media organizations are responsibly preparing our citizens for this result. Unfortunately, we should also prepare for some ugly court fights about whose ballots count and whose do not. We must not let this destroy our faith in our democracy, and we must go to the polls on (or preferably before) Election Day!

Election resources:

Johnson County Voter Information:

Iowa SOS Voter Information:

Iowa Poll Worker Information:

The Iowa City Press-Citizen’s Editorial Board is a volunteer group of readers who meet weekly. They are Venise Berry, Dave Bright, Shams Ghoneim, Robert Goodfellow, Kylah Hedding and John Macatee.

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