Voters turn out in record-breaking numbers across Iowa - Omaha.com
Published Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 1:00 am / Updated at 5:04 am
Voters turn out in record-breaking numbers across Iowa

A record number of Iowa voters went to the polls Tuesday, breaking a turnout tally set four years ago.

While turnout was high in Nebraska, it fell short of 2008 numbers and slightly below what election officials projected last week.

Iowa's 1,555,570 voters represented 71.7 percent of those registered, according to unofficial results.

The Iowa turnout compared with just over 71 percent in both the 2008 and 2004 elections and fell short of the record 80 percent set in the 1992 George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton election, said Chad Olsen of the Iowa Secretary of State's Office.

Early voting in Iowa also set a record, with 44.3 percent of ballots turned before Election Day, Olsen said.

In Pottawattamie County, turnout was 64.9 percent.

Officials expected a 70 percent turnout, which would have matched the 2008 total.

Turnout across Nebraska was slightly under 67 percent, according to unofficial results. In 2008, total voter turnout was 70 percent.

Secretary of State John Gale had predicted that 71 percent of registered voters would cast ballots. Iowa state election officials don't make pre-election turnout predictions.

In Omaha-dominated Douglas County, nearly 66 percent of voters went to the polls.

County Election Commissioner Dave Phipps expected a 68 percent turnout, down from 72 percent four years ago.

Phipps said the total vote count could hit about 68 percent after all early-voting and provisional ballots are tallied by late next week.

A record 75,000 or so Douglas County voters cast early ballots, compared with nearly 60,000 four years ago, Phipps said. More than 90 percent of the early ballots have been counted.

Phipps said 4,900 provisional ballots were cast Tuesday, about 500 fewer than in 2008.

“That's a good sign,'' he said. “It means that more people got to the right polling place or were registered correctly.''

Phipps guessed that about 3,500 of the provisional ballots would be accepted, based on past elections.

Provisional ballots generally are used by people who have moved and not re-registered.

They are allowed to vote, and the ballot is placed in an envelope instead of the ballot box. After election officials confirm that the voter hasn't voted anywhere else, they update the voter's registration and count the vote.

In Sarpy County, 67.5 percent of registered voters cast ballots, below the 70 percent expected by County Election Commissioner Wayne Bena and down from the 75 percent who voted in 2008.

Lancaster County turnout was 68.7 percent, below the predicted 71 percent.

Hitchcock County in southwest Nebraska had the state's highest voter turnout percentage at 86.7 percent.

In northeast Nebraska, Thurston County's 46.8 percent turnout was the state's lowest.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1127, david.hendee@owh.com

Contact the writer: David Hendee

david.hendee@owh.com    |   402-444-1127

David covers a variety of news across Nebraska, particularly natural resources and rural issues and the State Game and Parks Commission.

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