Record number of absentee ballots cast in Clay County

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Loss of power slows, but doesn't stop, process

At the peak of the 6 p.m. rush, the electronic voter registration confirmation process took a hit at the Clay County Regional Events Center Tuesday; but the process, although slowed, continued as 67 percent of the eligible voters in the county took part in the general election process.

Deb Green waits to vote at the Clay County Regional Events Center on Tuesday in Spencer. Evening voters struggled with long lines as Internet signal failure forced voting staff to verify voter registration manually. (Photo by Michael Fischer)

Many county voters opted to use the absentee/early voting opportunity. As a matter of fact, the numbers of early voters was off the chart.

"The absentee ballots were way higher than we've ever had," Clay County Auditor Marge Pitts said. "Before we've had maybe 2,400 ballots."

The 2012 count exceeded 3,745.

Pitts noted that turnout at the polls was very steady but down a bit from previous years.

"Now, looking back on the numbers, there weren't as many people coming out as we expected. There were many new election day registrations, well over 100 in just the Spencer area, not counting outlying areas and they were busy too," Pitts said.

A total of 214 new voters cast ballots in Clay County.

During the heart of the evening voting, electronic service to the voter registration verification was lost for approximately 40 minutes, slowing the process.

"We were totally prepared for it," Pitts said. "We had a backup plan."

She continued, "We had such a volume of people, just about 6 p.m. There were so many people, so it added to the delay. ... The volunteers did an excellent job of switching from doing things electronically to the paper version."

The county auditor credited her precinct officials on-site for keeping the process moving.

"It sounds to me like the access overloaded," Pitts explained. "The staff at the events center rebooted the access point and we were back online. We just had to find the person to get it rebooted."

Traffic slowed as the 9 p.m. close drew near. "By 8:30 p.m. there was nobody in the precinct. I was surprised. I thought we'd be going past 9 o'clock. But they vanished."

The process was completed by 9:50 p.m. at the auditor's office, where the county results were forwarded to the Iowa Auditor's office.

Poll workers verify voter registration at the Clay County Registration Center Tuesday morning. Shortly before 6 p.m. volunteer workers were forced to use paper verification when the connection to the service went down. (Photo by Randy M. Cauthron)

Clay County Election Notes

- 62 percent of registered Republicans cast ballots

- 38 percent of registered Democrats cast ballots

- Of the total ballots cast, 1,208 Republicans voted straight ticket, and 748 Democrats voted straight ticket

Clay County Election Results

Presidential Race

Mitt Romney (R)4,93458%
Barack Obama (D)3,36339.75%
Other votes164

United States Representative District 4

Steve King (R)4,83958%
Christie Vilsack (D)3,29840%
Martin James Monroe (NBP)2002%

Iowa State Representative District 2

Megan Hess (R)4,61855%
Steve Bomgaars (D)3,70144%

County Auditor

Marjorie Pitts (R)6,83499.5%

Clay County Township Trustee

Alice Roghair6043%
Kevin E. White8057%

Douglas Township Trustee

James G. Larson4692%

Freeman Township Trustee

Michael L. White9698%

Garfield Township Trustee

Bennett L. Greene6987%

Gillett Grove Township Trustee

Casey Schomaker10085%

Herdland Township Trustee

Jerod Olson8096%

Herdland Township Clerk to fill vacancy

Tim Elser8199%

Lake Township Trustee

Jim Graham7251%
John Metcalf6748%

Lake Township Trustee to fill vacancy

Write in4

Lincoln Township Trustee

Write in15

Lincoln Township Clerk to fill vacancy

Write in4

Logan Township Trustee

Curtis C. Salton7451%
Wyatt W. Brinkley6948%

Lone Tree Township

John W. Goeken9095%

Meadow Township Trustee

Write In17

Meadow Township Trustee to fill vacancy

Write In6

Meadow Township Trustee to fill vacancy

Write In6

Peterson Township Trustee

David Dean7956%
David Johnson6043%

Riverton Township Trustee

Sharon McKeever13853%
Jerry R. Beck12147%

Sioux Township Trustee

John Simmons10956%
Janelle Bredehoeft8744%

Summit Township Trustee

Jim Sonius9352%
Alan Banks8648%

Waterford Township Trustee

Mike Heikens7953%
Rodney Boernsen7147%

Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner

Julie Christensen5,30137%
Allen McCarty4,63032%
Jerry Crew4,49331%

Agricultural Extension Council

Candace J. Daniels4,09822%
Kent Thiesen5,25029%
Linda Foerster4,21923%
Teresa Steuben4,64225%

City of Greenville Treasurer to fill vacancy

Nicole Lange2693%

City of Rossie Council Member to fill vacancy

Write In13

City of Royal Council Member to fill vacancy

Arlene Wimmer14497%

City of Webb Council Member to fill vacancy

Barbara Brechler3956%
Michael R. Hildebrand3144%

Supreme Court Edward Mansfield


Supreme Court Thomas D. Waterman


Supreme Court David S. Wiggins


Supreme Court Bruce B. Zager


Court of Appeals Anuradha Vaitheswaran


Court of Appeals Michael R. Mullins


Court of Appeals Mary Ellen Tabor


District Court 3A David Lester


District Court 3A Nancy L. Whittenburg


District Court 3A Associate Judge Donald J. Bormann

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