Election officials are reporting brisk turn-out in today’s election. Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald says turn-out in Iowa’s most populous county will surpass the number of votes cast in the last mid-term election in 2006.
“Usually, we’re about 55 percent turn-out for our total in Polk County. We’re expecting it to be 60 to 65. In presidential (election years), we see about 70 to 75 (percent),” Fitzgerald says. “We’ve seen brisk turn-out this morning and we expect that to continue throughout the day.”
A record number of “early” votes were cast in Polk County, too. “We actually set a record for a non-presidential year for early voting, including making it our third-highest number that we’ve ever had in Polk County,” Fitzgerald says. “We had over 45,000 people participate early and, according to our 10 o’clock calls (to precincts), there’s a lot of them participating today on Election Day.”
Pottawattamie County Auditor Marilyn Jo Drake is the top election official in Council Bluffs and the surrounding area. “Each poll that calls in has been telling us that they have people waiting in line,” she says, “so it looks like the turn-out will be wonderful.”
Drake had predicted turn-out in her county would be about 45 percent for this election, but she’s now expecting voter participation to trend higher which is not the norm for a non-presidential election. “Very, very unusual and it’s just wonderful,” Drake says. “Not only are they waiting in lines, but the phones are just ringing off the wall with people wanting to know where they go to vote.”
Des Moines County Auditor Carol Copeland is seeing that same intensity in the Burlington area. “We had just under 7000 absentee ballots — 6800 ballots,” Copeland says. “And the phone’s just been ringing off the wall since the polls opened.”
Scott County Auditor Roxanne Moritz says she thinks the pace of voting in the Quad Cities area appears to be “high” for a mid-term election, but she won’t get a report from poll workers until midday on the pace of voting in Scott County precincts.