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Pate Predicts 2020 Turnout In Iowa To Top 2012's Record

Michael Leland
Iowa Public Radio

Secretary of State Paul Pate says his survey of county auditors indicates voter turn-out today “is pretty strong” and he says there’s no doubt Iowa will set a significant record for voter participation this year after the massive number of early ballots that were cast.

“Most certainly with over 996,970 absentee ballots in as of yesterday — clearly we’ll be over a million on that side alone and then you haven’t seen a dip today as far as the turnout,” Pate told Radio Iowa. “Usually you have highs and lows. Early in the morning — a lot of voters, then it kind of dips and then you come back up for lunch, but it’s stayed consistent.”

Pate said some of “the best news” he’s gotten today is that election officials in Iowa’s largest counties were able to tabulate all the absentee ballots that were delivered to the county auditors’ offices by the close of business Monday.

“Of course they have new ones that might be straggling in, but the big one, the big lift is pretty much all done in Scott County and Polk County,” Pate said. “And a lot of the other smaller counties have all reported all of theirs are counted as well.”

None of those results will be announced until after the polls close at 9 p.m., but Pate said getting a million absentee ballots tabulated allays fears about delayed results.

“It takes away some of that concern people had about: ‘Will we have the results tonight?’ Well, clearly we will,” Pate told Radio Iowa. “When you have the biggest counties that have already tabulated theirs, it’s a pretty good sign because in smaller counties, their lift is a little easier to attain and so I’m pretty confident they’ll all have their tallies done, so before 10 o’clock tonight, we’ll have those preliminary results.”

A spokesman for Pate said this evening via email there will not be preliminary results from today’s voting and from the absentee count by 10 p.m., but absentee results alone should will be known by 10 o’clock.

In 2012, 1.589 million ballots were cast in the state, which is the current and, according to Pate, about to be broken voter turn-out record.

(This post was updated at 6:07 p.m. with additional information from Pate’s spokesman.)