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What To Know About Tuesday's Primary Election In Iowa

IPR File
The polls are open until 9 p.m., though many voters will not cast ballots in their usual location.

Democratic and Republican voters will make decisions in primary elections across the state today. The two major state political parties held precinct caucuses in February to determine their presidential candidate preferences. Polls are open from 8 a.m.  to 9 p.m. 

Precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic have been put in place. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Most people won’t be voting in their usual polling places. Voters should double check their polling place. Counties are consolidating their voting locations so there are fewer places to set up for social distancing and fewer poll workers will be needed.
  • If a voter didn’t send in their absentee ballot, they have to vote in-person. Secretary of State Paul Pate’s office sent out absentee ballot request forms to voters and there’s been a huge response. By Monday, nearly 376,000 ballots had been returned across the state. That’s about 77 percent of ballots requested. Monday June 1 was the deadline for getting those ballots postmarked.
  • There are three hotly-contested primary races. There are four Democrats competing in a Senate primary with the winner going up against Republican Sen. Joni Ernst. In Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, Republican Congressman Steve King is trying to hold off four challengers. In Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, five Republicans are on the ballot in a primary challenge that includes former Illinois Congressman Bobby Schilling and Iowa state Sen. Marianette Miller-Meeks.

Clay Masters is Iowa Public Radio’s Morning Edition host and lead political reporter.