The primary is June 2nd, but you couldn’t tell that with the avalanche of absentee ballot requests in area Auditor Offices. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate believed that the safest approach to holding the primary election was to send out absentee ballot requests. Area voters could fill them out and vote from the comfort of home instead of standing in line waiting for their chance to vote at area polling locations.
It also became evident that a reduction in polling locations was necessary. Pate ordered that a reduction in sites take place so that there would be a reduction in the chances of voters and poll workers contracting COVID-19. As a result, Winnebago County reduced their polling locations to three, Hancock County took it down to just two. Worth County opted for just one in Kensett.
On the surface, it appears that the reduction may be a good move. In Hancock County there are 7,309 active registered voters. Among those 1,398 Democrats, 3,251 Republicans, and 2,623 independent voters. The rest are registered in other parties. Of those voters there are 1,074 who have returned their cast ballots. It should be noted that the county has not seen a voter turnout of 7,000 voters, but they have seen anywhere from 2,000 to maybe as high as 3,000 votes cast in a single general election. The last primary saw around 10% of registered voters cast their ballots.
In Winnebago County, the last general election saw 4,622 or 63.15% of the total number of voters in the county cast ballots. In the last primary, 9.91% of the registered voters in the county or 662 voted. As of May 28th, Winnebago County Election Commissioner Karla Weiss had received 1,162 cast absentee ballots in her office which is an increase of 500 votes from the last primary. Winnebago County has 7,194 active registered voters of which 1,525 are declared Democrats and 2,667 are Republicans. There are 2,969 who are independent voters. The rest are registered in other parties
Kossuth County had nearly the same percentage of turnout in the last primary and has already seen a doubling of received and cast absentee ballots. As of May 28th, the county had received 2,489 cast absentee ballots after sending out 3,656 of them at the request of voters. Kossuth has 2,784 declared Democrats, 3,630 declared Republicans, and 4,075 independent voters and the rest are registered in other parties for a total of 10,527 registered voters.
Worth County also had nearly 10% of voters turn out for the last primary. This year, Worth County Election Commissioner Jacki Backhaus has received 679 cast absentee ballots out of 1,003 that were requested and sent. With 5,114 registered voters, the numbers are fairly close in party line splits. 1,311 are registered Democrats, 1,828 are registered Republicans, and 1,958 are independents. The rest are registered in other parties
Wright County has a high total of returned and cast absentee ballots. So far, 1,285 ballots have come back to the Election Commissioner Betty Ellis’ Office. The office received 1,948 requests for an absentee ballot. There are 7,576 registered voters in Wright County and of them there are 1,762 registered Democrats, 3,284 Republicans, and 2,493 independent voters. The rest are registered in other parties
Cerro Gordo County has 28,736 registered voters. Among them are 8,551 registered Democrats, 7,701 Republicans, and 12,357 independent voters with the rest registered in other parties. The Cerro Gordo Election Commissioners Office has received 3,462 cast absentee ballots as of May 28th after sending out 5,463.
In person absentee ballot voting will end June 1st. Those who wish to vote absentee should visit their County Auditors Office. The primary election will take place on June 2nd.