More than 1,100 people have already turned out at the polls today in Iowa City, where voters are deciding if bars should enact a 21 and over policy. Johnson County Auditor Tom Slockett says there were 1,164 ballots cast by 9 a.m.
“That’s a sufficient number to confidently predict that we’ll have a record turnout election,” Slockett said. The current record for a city election in Iowa City is 13,366 voters in November of 2005. One reason that Slockett is already predicting a new record is the 7,809 requests for early ballots.
He says 6,304 of those absentee ballots have already been returned, and voters can return the ballots up until polls close tonight at 8. Around two-thirds of the absentee ballot requests were made by voters between the ages of 18-24.
“This is an election where we have an unusually high number of young people participating,” Slockett said, “and that’s essentially why we’re having a record turnout.” There are nearly 46,000 registered voters in Iowa City. Supporters of the 21 bar entry age believe it will help curb the problem of binge and underage drinking in Iowa City. Opponents say it would only spread the problem into the community by sending 19 and 20 year olds to unsupervised house parties.