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Marshall County Democrats deal with election during a pandemic

T-R FILE PHOTO - Marshall County Democrats Chair Jeannine Grady speaks to the Rotary Club on Jan. 7.

A pandemic is not a normal environment to be holding an election in.

However, 2020 has consistently proven to be anything but normal. There have been natural disasters, protests for racial equality and COVID-19 and it has been a year unlike any other for the Marshall County Democrats and county Chair Jeannine Grady.

Grady has been working with volunteers and members of the Marshall County Democrats to try and get the vote out in advance of November elections, but they’ve had to do things a little differently than they’re used to.

“It’s challenging with the pandemic not having in-person events,” Grady said. “We’ve been communicating remotely as much as possible.”

The Marshall County Democrats are working from home due to the pandemic and so they are not at their headquarters, she said.

Grady said the focus has been on having a couple of small in-person events with social distancing and masks, and making a lot of phone calls.

Getting out yard signs has been a big thing as well as the party is trying to balance a focus on the general election and Congressional races, such as the Senate race between Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield and the race the House of Representatives between Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) and Ashley Hinson.

There are also local state-level elections for State House Districts 71 and 72 and a race for State Senate District 36.

Grady said the derecho has made things even more difficult for campaigns, as the loss of power and internet for so many after the storm made it even more difficult to reach potential voters.

The party made sure it helped the community as much as it could after the storm, Grady said.

“We tried to have candidates help with yard cleanup,” Grady said. “We are trying to make people aware we’re willing to help.”

President Donald Trump’s recent attacks on the safety of vote-by-mail and absentee ballots have also been a focus of the party.

At an event held Saturday at La Carreta in Marshalltown, attendees were able to fill out absentee ballot request forms.

Grady said it is a key focus of the party to encourage voter turnout in whatever way possible – whether it be voting by mail or in-person.

“We want people to feel as safe as possible when choosing to vote by mail,” Grady said. “I encourage everybody to be as engaged as they can.”

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Contact Noah Rohlfing at 641-753-6611 or nrohlfing@timesrepublican.com.

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