WATERLOO — Tuesday’s primary results had a record number of absentee ballots and the third highest turnout in Iowa history.
Iowa saw a turnout of 279,124 ballots cast, and 50,610 absentee ballots sent in, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office.
Black Hawk County had its third highest turnout with 8,573 ballots cast. The highest turnout in Black Hawk County was recorded in 2010 with 9,218 ballots cast, and 10.56 percent of registered voters going to the polls.
While the turnout was high, 2010 had a higher number of ballots cast during its primary with 302,950, as did 2002 with a 303,656 total ballots cast.
At the end of the night with all 99 counties reporting, there was 13.11 percent turnout of registered voters in Iowa, and 9.82 percent in Black Hawk County.
“The turnout in this election is driven by the races on the Democratic side,” said Grant Veeder, Black Hawk County auditor and election commissioner.
Democrats appear to have a record high turnout with 176,500 registered Democrats casting ballots, said the communication director for Secretary of State Kevin Hall.
“Turnout last night was thanks in large part to the incredible activists and volunteers who stepped up to make sure as many folks got out and were part of the great Democratic process as possible,” said Tess Seger, Iowa Democratic Party communications director in an email to The Courier. “Iowa Democrats sent a strong message last night: We’re ready. We have the momentum, and we’re going to turn out this November to take our state back from the extreme, conservative special interests Republicans have put ahead of our values.”
Republicans did not come out as strongly to vote for a potential secretary of agriculture, with only 7.92 percent registered Republicans voting.
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“There has been a lot of talk about Democrats and their enthusiasm this year,” said Jesse Dougherty, communications director for the Republican Party of Iowa.
There were 50,000 more votes from Republicans in 2010, Dougherty said.
“I think the (Democratic) enthusiasm narrative isn’t what they’re saying; we still have full confidence in our Republican tickets starting with Governor Reynolds,” Dougherty said.
The rollout of new voter ID laws went relatively smooth in Black Hawk County.
“There were some cases we had voters who complained about how that worked,” Veeder said. “In some cases, the voter wasn’t aware of the change and in other cases precinct workers were confused about how they were supposed to respond.”
In the end everything was sorted out, Veeder said.
“I’m not aware of anyone that wasn’t able to vote because of any misunderstanding,” Veeder said.
There were 11 provisional ballots cast in Black Hawk County with 10 coming from Cedar Falls and one from Waterloo.
All of Iowa’s election results are unofficial until a county’s board of supervisors canvass and approve the ballots.