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Most Iowans plan to vote by mail in November election, according to survey

An absentee ballot request form for the state of Iowa.
An absentee ballot request form for the state of Iowa.(Mary Green/KCRG)
Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 5:09 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A recent poll conducted by several universities found that most Iowans are likely to vote by mail in November’s general election, along with showing support for making the ability to do so easier.

The COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Police Preferences Across States, a survey taken monthly in all 50 states, showed that 65% of Iowans who said they are planning to vote called it at least somewhat likely that they will vote by absentee mail-in ballots. The survey’s researchers cited other studies which showed 25% of Iowans used mail-in ballots in 2016. Actual turnout statistics provided by Iowa’s Secretary of State showed just over 41% voted absentee in 2016′s general election, which would include mail-in and in-person early voting.

Around 77.8% of the 529,586 voters who participated in June’s primary election, the only statewide election held during the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, chose to vote absentee. Turnout for that primary shattered previous records for a primary election. Secretary of State Paul Pate mailed absentee ballot requests to all registered voters ahead of the election due to the public health emergency.

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a measure that passed the legislature that required the Secretary of State to get approval from a legislative panel. Pate sought and received approval in July to follow a similar plan for November’s election as in June’s primary.

The poll also tested respondents’ feelings on access to absentee voting-by-mail, with 57% of Iowans saying they strongly support making it easier to do so for the upcoming election. Another 13% support the idea, while 6% oppose with another 11% strongly opposing making it easier to vote by mail. 13% neither support or oppose making changes.

A separate analysis of the survey by its researchers showed Reynolds’ handling of the ongoing pandemic to be deeply unpopular in the state.

The consortium consists of researchers from Northwestern University, Northeastern University, Harvard’s medical school and Kennedy School-Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, and Rutgers University. The scientific survey was conducted by PureSpectrum online using 19,052 persons across the county, then weighted for various factors to get a representative sample. More information can be found on the group’s website.

The researchers included 307 Iowans in their sample for the state’s results, leading to a margin of error of +/- 7%.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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