Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announced on Twitter this morning that Iowa has “shattered” the previous voter turn-out record — by nearly 100,000 votes. The previous record was nearly 1.589 million ballots cast by voters in 2012. Pate and his staff had an inkling voter interest was spiking.
“We’ve seen a huge uptick in people going to our website, as well as just as our social media tracking,” Paul told Radio Iowa. “We’re seeing all-time high numbers of people seeing what we’re tweeting out, see what we’re putting on our Facebook.”
The Secretary of State’s website is the portal where Iowans were able to track their absentee ballots, plus it has a page where voters could plug in their own address to find the precinct location for Election Day voting. Pate said the pandemic may have had a role in this year’s increased turn-out, as social activities have been limited.
“There weren’t as many distractions, because I have this activity to go to or that activity to go to, those were taken off the table somewhat, so voting became a higher issue,” Pate said. “And just in general terms the economy and the pandemic itself got people’s attention and they felt that voting would send a message on how they wanted their government to respond.”
Pate said there are outstanding absentee ballots that may be counted in the next few days and added to the voter turn-out tally.
More than a million Iowans asked for an absentee ballot and were sent one. The latest data on the Secretary of State’s website shows about 56,000 absentee ballots had not been received by county auditors by Monday evening. State law allows mailed-in absentee ballots to be counted if they have a November 2 postmark and are delivered to a county auditor’s office by November 9.