Benson talks auditor-recorder appointment
Voting laws, work background also discussed
Recently appointed Marshall County Auditor and Recorder Nan Benson visited the Marshall County Pachyderm Herd Friday and discussed her work background, voting law changes and more.
“I wanted to learn new things,” Benson said of becoming the auditor-recorder in October. “I’m one that tends to get a little bored, I like to be busy; I’m busy now.”
The Marshall County Board of Supervisors selected Benson for the post after the previous auditor-recorder, Deanne Raymond, moved out of the county.
“I have a staff of nine, they are a fantastic staff,” she said. “Our most recent hire has been just a couple of years, up to people with 30 years of experience.”
One of the major discussions at Friday’s meeting concerned changes in the state’s voting laws, many of which are being implemented in 2018 and 2019.
“There are ID cards coming out from the Secretary of State,” Benson said of the Iowa Voter ID cards recently sent to registered voters without a driver’s license or non-driver ID.
In 2019, she said voters will need a valid form of identification at the polls. Such IDs include a driver’s license, non-driver’s ID, U.S. passport, military or veterans ID, or an Iowa Voter ID Card.
“You will hand it to the poll worker, they will take it, they will scan it in the machine,” Benson said.
She also discussed some changes that have already taken effect.
“There is going to be no straight-party voting, and that started July 1 of 2017, so that is a big change,” Benson said.
Absentee voting changes beginning Jan. 1, 2018 were also discussed, including the new absentee ballot voting period of 29 days before an election. Benson also said requests for absentee ballots will not be accepted until 120 days before an election.
“We actually have a longer period of time ahead to request, but I think it’s going to work out better,” she said, adding absentee ballots will also have to be received by the auditor-recorder’s office at least 10 days before a general election.
In 2019, Benson said high school students who will be 18 years old by a general election date will be able to vote in the preceding primary election, and that city and school elections combined and take place in November.
Along with the voting law discussion, Benson said the county is getting ready for the annual budgeting process.
“Right now, what I’ve been working on is budgets, which is something that I’m pretty comfortable with,” she said. “We’re going to start meetings here with the board of supervisors beginning next week and going through all the department budgets, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Benson also discussed her work background. She graduated from Central College with a degree in accounting and has worked at Emerson Process Management-Fisher Controls, the Area Education Agency, the Iowa Valley Community College District and more.
“I’ve done budgeting, I’ve done financials and those types of things in many different environments,” she said, adding she’s also worked in human resources. “I like computers, I like software.”
Prior to being appointed as auditor-recorder, Benson also acted as the clerk of Washington Township in western Marshall County.
“I’ve been coming in for years to the (auditor-recorder) office to bring in my budget and annual report to turn them in for Washington Township,” she said.
Benson also said running for office will be a new experience.
“That will be the other new thing for me; I’ve never thought of myself as a political person,” she said. “That’s going to be outside my comfort zone, there’s no question about it.”
Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org