Polk at unprecedented level of early voting

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, October 30, 2018

County sees 3,750 votes one week before Election Day

COLUMBUS — Polk County voters are coming out early like never seen before.

As of early Monday afternoon, Polk County had seen a total of 3,750 early votes. The county normally sees approximately 4,000 early votes and another 4,000 on Election Day during a midterm election.

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Early voting will continue until this Saturday. Voting can be done from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Polk County Board of Elections Office in Columbus.

Election Day is next Tuesday, Nov. 6, at all seven precincts in the county.

So far, unaffiliated voters are outvoting Democrats and Republicans, which has never happened in Polk County.

Polk County Election Director Cliff Marr said statewide, Democrats come out hard in early voting typically and in Polk County, it is normally neck and neck.

This year, unaffiliated voters have cast 1,317 votes, compared to 1,171 Democrats, 1,256 Republicans and six Libertarians, according to numbers as of Monday around 2 p.m.

“Unaffiliated has never been in the lead in early voting,” Marr said.

Marr also said normally, in a midterm election, Polk County votes around 50 percent of its registered voters. A presidential election in Polk County will normally draw about 70 percent of registered voters.

Polk County has 16,124 registered voters, with 37.26-percent registered unaffiliated, 35.06 percent registered Republican, 27.18 percent registered Democrat and 0.5 percent registered Libertarian.

Of the registered voters, 92.01 percent are white, 4.54 percent are black and 3.45 percent are other. 

Marr said if the county is running roughly 16,000 registered voters, for a normal midterm election, that should mean roughly 8,000 voters will turn out.

“We normally vote 4,000 of that 8,000 early,” Marr said. “We’re definitely going to go over 4,000 this time.”

Polk County residents can register to vote at the same time as early voting until Saturday. No one can register to vote on Election Day next Tuesday. 

Marr said so far, 43 residents have registered to vote during early voting.

Marr encouraged residents to vote early.

“We’ve got no lines,” he said. “They should come early, especially if they’ve moved or had any changes. I highly encourage people to get it done.”

Polls close at 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday, Nov. 6, which is when early voting totals can be released.