A sampling of county auditors across the state finds a brisk pace for voting so far today. Pottawattamie County Auditor, Marilynn Jo Drake, says good weather greeted western Iowa voters today.
“Most of our precincts are reporting long lines, people are very patient and waiting for their chance to vote, but the lines are long,” Drake says. She says many people in the county took advantage of early voting.
“Well, compared to four years ago in the presidential, we had 14,000 (early) voters, and this time we had 20,000,” she explained. Drake says they had a couple of label machines that gave them some trouble, but otherwise things are going smoothly.
“We haven’t had any actual polling place problems, everyone was able to get into their polling place and that’s a record. We usually always have one or two where someone has failed to go and open the door for us, but we didn’t have any of that today. So that was nice,” according to Drake.
In central Iowa, Polk County Auditor, Jamie Fitzgerald, says voting machines have been busy. “We had an historic levels for out early voting — well over 90-thousand people had cast their ballots before election day — and were seeing a lot of that trend parlay into today. A lot of my poll workers showed up to work today and opened the polls to a line of people waiting to vote,” Fitgerald says.
“So we’re seeing a pretty steady trend of people voting. I think we are going to surpass our 2008 number of over 215-thousand voters, I think we are going to get to that today.” If that trend holds true, Fitzgerald says they would have just over 80-percent of the registered voters in the state’s largest county turn out.
He says the number of early votes could lead to some smaller lines at the polling places today. Ftizgerald says with 18 to 20,000 people voting early, there could be some drop off at the polls today. Fitzgerald says they had to replace one voting machine that was not working, but otherwise things have gone smoothly.
In northeast Iowa, Black Hawk County Auditor Grant Veeder is keeping an eye on the voting. “We had our precincts call in with their turnout at 10 o’clock this morning and at that point we were at about ten-and-a- half percent of registered voters turn out. And that compares to four years ago at that time where we were at about 13-and-a-half percent,” Veeder says.
Veeder attributes the in-person drop off to the number of early votes. “We had about 32,000 requests for ballots and of those, about 29,000 have been returned so far. So, we know that we won’t get them all back. Some people will go to the polls to vote and then they’ll either surrender their ballot there and if they don’t have that with them, they’ll go to provisional ballot,” Veeder explains.
He says if this pace holds, they will match the turnout for the last presidential election. “We had about a 72-percent turnout in 2008, and I’m guessing we’ll be close to that this time,”Veeder says.
The polls will be open until 9 tonight.