FAIRFIELD – A segment of Southeast Iowa voters will return to the polls for a special election later this month to fill a vacant Iowa Senate seat.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds called a special election for Jan. 26 to fill the seat of outgoing Iowa Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Senate District 41, who won election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Last week, the two major parties held conventions and nominated candidates for the office, with the Democrats choosing Mary Stewart of Ottumwa and the Republicans choosing Adrian Dickey of rural Packwood.
The filing deadline to run for the office was 5 p.m. Tuesday. Jefferson County Elections Clerk Abbie DeKleine said now that the candidate list is known, that info will be sent to the printers, and she hopes ballots will be ready for voters by early next week. Once ballots arrive, Jefferson County voters who live in the district will be able to cast a vote absentee at the courthouse during the Auditor Office’s normal business hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Auditor’s Office will hold special hours to accommodate the election, remaining open until 5 p.m. Friday, which is the pre-registration deadline and the deadline to request a ballot by mail. The office will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, for absentee voting as well.
DeKleine said she’s never had such a tight turnaround from learning of an election until Election Day itself. The closest she’s come to something this quick was in 2017 when Iowa Rep. Curt Hanson died, and his successor was voted on later that year. But that was six weeks instead of just four weeks to prepare this time.
Most of Jefferson County including the city of Fairfield is in Senate District 41, plus all of Davis and Van Buren counties plus most of Wapello County including the city of Ottumwa. There are four townships in Jefferson County that are not in the district, along the east edge of the county. To know for sure if you live in the district and can participate in the special election, type in your address at the Iowa Secretary of State’s website or call the Jefferson County Auditor’s Office at 641-472-2840.
Voting on Election Day, Jan. 26, will last from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The deadline for mailing an absentee ballot is Jan. 25. If you have not mailed your ballot by Election Day, you must take it to your polling place by 9 p.m. that night. For the absentee ballot to count in the election, it must be received by Jan. 28 because that is the day the county is canvassing the election.