Pate released a recorded message late this afternoon. “The safety of voters takes precedence and by encouraging Iowans to vote absentee, we can reduce the risk of community spread of COVID-19,” Pate said. “We still plan on having our polls open on June 2nd for voters who prefer to cast ballots in person, but this effort will help reduce the risk of infecting others.”
The vote-by-mail period for the June 2nd primary will now begin on April 23rd. During primary elections earlier this month in Arizona, Florida and Illinois, election officials announced public health precautions like disinfecting voting booths and machines regularly, plus poll workers were given gloves, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer. But there were reports of poll workers failing to show up, causing lines and — in some cases — polling sites had to be moved or consolidated.
Under current state law, the early voting period for primaries and the General Election is 29 days. Pate used his authority in a disaster to extend the absentee ballot period by 11 days.