DES MOINES, Iowa — The polls officially opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning for the 2020 primaries. The coronavirus pandemic has prompted many Iowans to vote by absentee ballot, but still, some are expected to turn out to polling sites.
Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald said in 2018 about 7,400 of those absentee ballots were cast. This year, the count tops 36,000.
For those who are still planning to head out to vote, make sure to check where your polling location is. You can use the search tool here to find out where you can cast your vote. Due to COVID-19, there’s less in-person voting and fewer poll workers and that means they have consolidated locations. For example, in Polk County, they’ve shrunk from 135 locations to just 28.
Even with fewer polling sites, Secretary Paul Pate says he believes there won’t be long lines simply due to the number of absentee ballots sent in. When you head out to vote you can also expect extra precautions at the polls. State elections officials have provided each county with a COVID-19 health kit that includes things like antiseptic bottles, gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer.
There are a lot of contested primaries on the ballot this year including the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. Vying to take on Senator Joni Ernst in November are Admiral Michael Franken, Kimberly Graham, Theresa Greenfield, and Eddie Mauro.
All four of Iowa’s U.S. House seats feature contested primaries as well, including the 4th Congressional District. Four Republicans are running against nine-term incumbent Steve King.
See the full list of candidates for the primary election here. WHO 13 will have a primary special Tuesday during the WHO 13 News at 4:00 p.m.