Many of the nearly 8,200 absentee ballots cast in yesterday’s special election in Woodbury County were cast in the spring.

The election was originally scheduled for April 14th, but Iowa’s secretary of state rescheduled it for July 7th because of the pandemic. Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill says several hundred people who cast an absentee ballot showed up at their local polling place yesterday.

“A lot of them were not too happy,” Gill says. “They honestly had a hard time believing they had already cast their ballot in this election.”

Gill’s office got around 10,000 requests for absentee ballots and about 8000 ballots were mailed in before the secretary of state decided on March 20th that the election should be pushed back.

“I asked him not to do that because we thought there would be confusion,” Gill says.

Voters who would not believe they had already cast an absentee ballot were allowed to cast a provisional ballot — or go to the county auditor’s office to check the record of their absentee vote.

“We could show them the affidavit that actually contained their signature and some voters actually did that,” Gill says. “…It was something that upset a lot of voters and it was very important to use that we maintain the integrity of elections in Woodbury County because people were believing they were unjustly being turned away from the polling place when they had already voted.”

Just over 900 ballots were actually cast yesterday at polling sites. A whopping 90 percent of all the votes in the supervisor’s race were cast early by absentee ballot. Early this year Woodbury County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor resigned after a local board determined he was no longer eligible to serve because he’d moved out of the district he was elected to represent. Republican Justin Wright won the race to serve the remaining two years of Taylor’s term.

(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)