Fremont County Courthouse

(Sidney) -- Races hotter than the weather outside are generating voter interest in Fremont County.

County Auditor Dee Owen and her staff are gearing up for Tuesday's Iowa Primary. Owen tells KMA News she hopes for a good turnout, based on the number of absentee ballots returned thus far.

"We have issued 151 absentee ballots, of which we've received 128 back," said Owen. "That is pretty typical of what we call an-off year primary, when we have a race like for supervisor."

In addition to competitive gubernatorial and congressional matchups, voters will also decide contested races for county supervisor and recorder. There's one major change in this year's polling locations. Owen says Sidney's precinct has been moved from the Fremont County Courthouse to the United Faith Church north of the community. She says the church is a nice location.

"We had a little bit of congestion here in the courthouse," she said. "They have an open area (in the church) for our voters. They're handicapped accessible--you can drive right up to the door. If you would have somebody that was handicapped to go in, they can drive right up to the door, and get out and go vote. It's just a really good location."

In addition, Fremont County is among those participating in the "slow rollout" of the state's new voter I-D laws. Owen says her office has the technology compatible with the new laws.

"We implemented the electronic poll books at the suggestion of the secretary of state," said Owen. "They have done a really good job of putting out a lot of information to educate the voters. We try to share that whenever we can. So now, our poll workers will now have laptops that will guide them through the voting process for people. This is kind of a soft rollout of the voter I-D, so you will be required to show an I-D. But, you will have the option of provisional, if you absolutely have no idea whatsoever."

Owen reminds voters without driver's licenses to bring their state-provided I-D cards to the polls.

"The secretary of state also sent out--for those that maybe don't have a driver's license, or any kind of state-issued I-D card--they sent out cards to people that had a voter PIN number on it," she said. "So, if anyone out there has one of those, please bring it to the polls with you. It will make the process go a lot quicker."

Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Like other county auditor's offices in KMAland, Owen's office is open for absentee voting Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., as well as Monday during normal business hours.