The state official in charge of elections says it appears voter turnout in Iowa is higher than it was in the last presidential election, setting a new record.
There may be some additional absentee ballots counted this week that had been postmarked before Election Day, but the current tally indicates about 12-thousand more people voted in Iowa this year compared to four years ago. Secretary of State Matt Schultz says that represent a sizable share of eligible voters.
“That’s about 72 percent right now,” Schultz says, “so it is a slight increase above 2008.”
There have never been more votes cast in Iowa — 1,558,252 Iowans voted in the 2012 General Election. But Iowa’s record in terms of the percentage of eligible voters casting ballots came in 1992 when Bill Clinton was challenging then-President George H.W. Bush. Just over 80 percent of registered voters participated in the 1980 election.
This year, about 43 percent of all Iowa votes were cast before Election Day.
“Clearly the ground game of getting early votes was tremendous this year,” Schultz says.
Nearly a third of the early votes came from Republicans; 26 percent came from independent or “no-party” voters, but the rest — 42 percent of all early votes — came from Democrats.
“So clearly Democrats really turned out heavily with their early vote and it showed in their late night totals,” says Schultz, a republican who was elected in 2010.
President Obama won 52 percent of the vote in Iowa compared to Mitt Romney’s 46 percent.