Darla Hill was so excited to vote this year, she just couldn't - and didn't - wait. She was the first person to vote in Webster County Thursday, the first day early voting was allowed.
"I was just thrilled to death," Hill said. "I'm going to be like this all day. I don't know how I'm going to sleep tonight."
Hill, who has lived in Fort Dodge most of her life, said she got her enthusiasm for the civic process from her parents.
-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Darla Hill, of Fort Dodge, fills out her ballot Thursday morning at the county auditor’s office in the Webster County Courthouse. She was the first voter in Webster County. Early voting is now open.
"They made it fun to vote," she said. "Cooking food, having friends over, debating, teaching us how to debate in a peaceful manner. That can be kind of hard sometimes."
That's not to say her parents' discussions were always quiet.
"My mother was a stern Republican, and my father was a stern Democrat. We never understood that when we were little. We weren't part of that. That was their time."
Hill said one reason voting was so important was to express her freedom and her patriotism.
"I'm very patriotic. Both my mother and father were in the service, and my older brother was in the Marines and a police officer. They're all gone now, they're in Arlington, Va.," she said.
"My parents taught me that even though I'm a woman I can be equal. Equal pay, equal rights, equal everything."
Why did she vote early?
"Republicans always go in early to vote."
She was surprised at being the first voter in Webster County.
"Early voting is a good thing," she said. "It's fine to take advantage of it. If people don't want to, they don't have to. That's freedom."
Anyone can vote early at the auditor's office located in the Webster County Courthouse, 703 Central Ave., or by requesting an absentee ballot from the office by mail. Ballot request forms are also available at www.longdistancevoter.org/iowa.
Absentee ballots can be cast at the auditor's office through 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 5. Requests for mailed absentee ballots must be received by 5 p.m. on Nov. 2.
Mailed absentee ballots must be postmarked by midnight Nov. 5 for the Nov. 6 election.