Iowa Secretary of State Michael Mauro is warning that Iowa voters may have to wait in lines to cast their ballots in this year’s presidential election. “For the general elections like we’re going to have this November, allow yourself 10 (or) 15 minutes. You know in some countries they’ll wait in line for two or three hours,” Mauro says. “In the United States, we want to do everything in five minutes, but we want to make sure we do it right.”
Over 22,000 Iowans registered as first-time voters on Caucus Night back in January. Even more may register to vote on Election Day, as Iowa law no longer requires registering at least 10 days before the election. Mauro and Iowa’s 99 county auditor are preparing for a deluge on November 4th.
“We’re going to have big, big, record turnouts but this will not be like the Caucuses where everybody is slammed into a room,” Mauro says. “…We feel comfortable that we can handle the votes.”
Today, Governor Culver is scheduled to sign legislation that requires all 99 counties to use paper ballots in the fall election. In some counties, the machines that read those ballots will be brand new according to Mauro. “With this new equipment we have, we’re going to be able to put up as many voting booths as a polling place can handle,” Mauro says, adding that while there may be lines on Election Day, the process of casting your ballot shouldn’t take longer than 10 or 15 minutes.
Mauro became Iowa’s Secretary of State in January of 2007.