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Voter turnout steady throughout much of North Iowa and Southern Minnesota

Some polling places seeing numbers exceeding the 2014 midterms and 2016 Presidential election

Posted: Nov 6, 2018 7:32 PM
Updated: Nov 6, 2018 8:49 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa - Turnout has been steady at polling places across North Iowa and Southern Minnesota on Tuesday.

At polling sites in Cerro Gordo County, there has been a swath across the board; as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, the polling location at Ventura Community Center has seen almost 600 voters, with Co-Chairperson Scott Pederson saying they've had more than the last Presidential election. In some locations, poll workers have seen around 200-500 voters cast their votes, while in Thornton, they've seen just shy of 120. In Floyd County, 2,557 absentee ballots have been counted as of 6:10 p.m. (These numbers are all expected to change.) In Minnesota, as of Noon, about 70,000 voters showed up to cast a ballot in Minneapolis, about 28% of all registered voters in that city.

Throughout this election season, increasing voter turnout has been on everyone's agenda, from candidates to the Secretary of State. Are those efforts starting to pay off?

Mary Balk is the Co-Chairperson of the polling site at Mason City's Grace Church, and has worked in precincts on Election Day for over 20 years. Today, she's seen a steady turnout, even turning in a ballot herself.

"When you're an election worker I usually work in my precinct. And I can just get to vote right away."

The numbers she's seeing are showing that there is enough interest in this election.

"I think there's a lot of excitement, and I feel like there's a lot of interest, and that's good. That's good for our democracy."

Kathy Loeckle voted this morning.

"Almost every booth was full. All morning, we sat here and talked to some people, and people were constantly coming in and reshuffling as they're filling up seats and so they were all full."

She prefers to vote on Election Day as well, but notes the convenience of absentee ballots due to people having busier lifestyles than before.

"We all live busy lives today, and we have different work schedules, and have kids in school that are constantly active in sports and other activities, and you get tired. So you do it when it's convenient for you."

She notes that the process to get people to vote has become more simple, and could lead to growth in participation.

"If you just had the one day and the one place to go, it'd be so crowded you couldn't vote. Some states don't allow early voting. Can you imagine the polls and how busy they are?"

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