Election 2022: Iowa primary election, 10% turnout expected in Pottawattamie County

The polls close in Iowa at 8 p.m. Tuesday an hour earlier than in previous elections
They’re throwing a party across the state of Iowa to decide Democratic and Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate, Congress, and the Iowa Legislature.
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 5:37 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Seven states are holding primary elections today to choose candidates for the mid-term election in November.

Iowa is one of those seven states and election officials in Pottawattamie County don’t expect a big turnout at the polls.

According to Pott County officials, only 10% of the more than 50,000 registered voters in the county will bother to vote in the primary. That number is about average for primaries over the last 10 years.

Election officials will use 80 different ballots to cover 40 precincts across the county.

“Primaries don’t usually draw like they would in November election and especially if there’s no president not a lot of competition at the congressional level,” said Melvyn Houser.

Melvyn Houser is the auditor and commissioner of elections in Pottawattamie County, he says there are some local races that have captured the attention of voters.

“The only big competition is for the supervisors, there’s three seats open, and there’s about eight Republicans running and one Democrat,” said Houser.

Pottawattamie County is huge, more than 900 square miles running from Carter Lake to Walnut.

Voters in this year’s primary will notice some changes, Representative Cindy Axne has an office here in Council Bluffs but she no longer represents the area.

“We’re in the third district with Cindy Axne and now we’re the fourth district where Randy Feenstra from Sioux County is currently our congressman and he’s running unopposed and there’s one Democrat running for that fourth district seat.”

Political districts were re-drawn after the census which happens every 10 years but the voters we talked to are not sure if that was the only criteria for redistricting.

RESULTS: Iowa Primary election

One of the most closely watched races tonight will be the one for U.S. Senate.

“I never really could understand why they did it you know everything’s political anymore,” said Tom Reikofski.

“I didn’t understand that part of why there’s redistricting you know, but if it had to do with the census then I understand it if it had to do with they just wanted to change it so they could get more people in a certain area I don’t agree with that,” said Kathy Cooper.

Kurt Larsen brought his daughter with him to the polls, to show her how important it is to vote no matter how many people decide to cast a ballot.

“Because what’s going on nowadays isn’t very good for the economy or nothing. As far as gas prices and all the food prices going up and the only way to get it fixed is if you vote for it and who you believe gonna do you the best job,” said Larsen.

But the voters do agree that everyone who is eligible should vote.

“I try to vote for everyone regardless I think it’s our responsibility to keep up with what’s going on in this country and make our own decisions.”

Voters use paper ballots in Iowa. They say their network is safe and cant be hacked, they do use machines to count the ballots.

“So if you go to your grocery store and you scan your product and it comes up on the calculator so you know how much that’s what these machines do it scans and calculates that all it does, it’s no different than checking out at Hy-Vee,” said Houser

Elections officials in Pottawattamie County say it takes about $100,000 to put on a primary election. A lot of money for very little interest.

“Even if there’s one voter you have to do it we don’t have the option of calling off an election because of lack of interest,” said Houser.

The polls close in Iowa at 8 p.m. Tuesday an hour earlier than in previous elections.

A Republican-backed law changed last year now requires the polls to close at 8 p.m.

Election officials in Pottawattamie County don't expect a big turnout at the polls.

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