More than 630,000 had already voted, early, before the voting started in precincts throughout the state at 7 a.m. this morning.
Secretary of State Paul Pate, the commissioner of elections in Iowa, describes the scene: “We’re very fortunate. We have about 10,000 of our neighbors — Republicans and Democrats working side-by-side, about as transparent as we can put it, both paid staff and volunteers, poll watchers, poll workers. They’re there at nearly 1,700 precincts. A lot of them have been there since six o’clock this morning and they’ll be there, probably, ’til 10 o’clock tonight.”
The oldest poll worker in Iowa is 99.
“(It’s) Bernice Butler and she’s from Appanoose County, over in Centerville,” Pate says. “And believe it or not, we have quite a few 97 year olds, 92-year-old olds.”
Pate says at the other end of the age spectrum, there are college students and even teenagers who aren’t yet old enough to vote who’ve gotten the day off school to work at the polls.
“So we’ve got a pretty diverse group of ages, which I think makes it a little more exciting, but also gives us a lot more diversity,” he says. “It’s great to have the poll workers and the election workers reflect different populations, so that means different ages, different genders, different ethnic backgrounds. Let’s bring it all in.”
And younger poll workers are more “in tune” with technology, according to Pate. However, no voting machines in Iowa are connected to the internet. The machines scan the ballots and each machine then keeps a tally of the votes.
“We don’t vote on the internet. We don’t vote by email,” Pate says. “It’s the old-fashioned paper ballot, makes it so we can be accountable and we can audit and we can verify.”
Pate’s office issued a report on November 1, 2016, showing there are more than 2.1 million “active” voters in Iowa. That means those voters have cast ballots in the past couple of elections. Pate expects about 70 percent of eligible Iowa voters to turn-out for the 2016 election.
“I just believe that Iowans are pretty dedicated,” Pate says. “They’re going to get out there and vote.”
Pate says, so far, there have been a few hiccups, but no major problems in voting at Iowa’s 1681 precincts.