MASON CITY, Iowa - There has been a steady stream of voters coming in to polling places across the state Tuesday, as Iowans took part in this year's primary. And according to the Secretary of State's office, the primary is already off to a great turnout.
As of yesterday, close to 50,000 absentee votes are already in, breaking the record previously set in 2014 by almost 10,000 votes, and county officials and local voters are predicting to see more people come to the polls today, despite being a primary.
Richard and Marcia Pierson have been voting since they were in their late teens, and have not missed an election since.
Since then, election laws have changed dramatically, including recently with the implementation of Iowa's new voter ID law.
In the current political climate, the Piersons believe that it's important to utilize your right to vote, whether it's during a primary or general election.
"I think it's just part of the process, and it's a privilege to get to vote and determine who your government officials are. Yeah, don't complain, but just do better than that and go vote," Marcia Pierson says.
Sharon Meyer has been voting since her first election in 1968. She knows there's power in voting, and hopes more people will come out and exercise their right to vote.
"I think that there will be a lot more younger people that will be participating. I'm hoping that there will be more people participating."
Precinct election officials, or PEOs, are working to make sure the voting process goes smoothly at all polling sites across the state. The role carries many responsibilities, such as verifying the accuracy of a voter's information, ballot distribution, operating accessible voting machines, and managing ballot scanners.
Dave Innes has been a PEO for the last three years, and is helping guide voters at Grace Evangelical Free Church during Tuesday's primary. He believes it's important to have someone on guard to make sure everything is working.
"The concerns over voters rights, stuff like that. So make sure things are done the right way. I moved here from another state and in Iowa, they do stuff really good here," Innes says.
And feels a sense of pride while doing so.
"Everybody does their little bit. This is my little bit. It's not gonna solve the world's problems, but we can do our little bit to make voting better here in Cerro Gordo," Innes adds.
One thing that many election officials are stressing is that unlike with special elections such as a bond issue, voters must vote at the polling place that's set up for the precinct where they live. Some PEOs say they've had to redirect voters to their correct polling places throughout the day.
Polls will remain open until 9 p.m.
Stay with KIMT News 3 for up-to-date election coverage and results.
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