WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Late Results in Lee County

Nov 8, 2012

High turnout in several Lee County precincts led to a much longer night for election workers.

The final Election Day update to the county’s website occurred at about 2:00 A.M. Wednesday.

That was several hours later than neighboring Iowa counties and must later than Election Coordinator Denise Fraise anticipated.

She says the primary reason was a lack of ballots.

Fraise and Auditor Anne Pedersen says the county ordered more ballots than were used during the 2008 Presidential Election, but that did not prevent 10 of the 22 precincts from running out.

Fraise says the affected precincts were spread throughout Lee County.  She says calls from poll workers started coming in more than 5 hours before voting came to an end at 9:00 P.M. Tuesday.

Fraise says 200 ballots were copied for each precinct, even if they were not running low, but just 361 were used.

She says the delay occurred because the extra ballots could not be run through tabulation machines, so they had to be counted by hand, including write-in votes

The extra ballots did not affect overall turnout, though, as the 2012 figure of 70% was the same as it was in 2008.

Fraise says the unofficial results will continue to be updated as provisional and late-arriving absentee ballots are reviewed.

The delay in Lee County was felt all the way in Des Moines. 

The website for the Iowa Secretary of State's Office did not show complete, unofficial results for the races in the 2nd Congressional District, the 42nd State Senate District, the 83rd State House District and Lee County's two Board of Supervisors seats until Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, in Des Moines County, voter turnout was 70%, which is just one-percentage point lower than the 71% figure achieved in 2008.