Wait on election night could be long due to mail in ballots
October 26th, 2012 by Ric Hanson
State election officials say there’s a chance that mail-in ballots could delay the results in races that are close on November sixth.
Chad Olsen of the Iowa Secretary of State’s office says Iowa is on pace to set a new record for early voting — and most of those are coming in by mail. “Hopefully it goes one way or another. But it is really amazing that we start things off. Iowa’s first in the nation. But it may end up this year coming down to Iowa and one or two other states to decide who is president, and we may be one of the states to finish the race as opposed to just starting it,” Olsen says.
Under state law, county auditors must count absentee ballots they’ve received by 10 p-m on election night, but ballots that are postmarked by November fifth can be received up until noon on November 13th and still be counted. Olsen says races up and down the ballot could be impacted. “In a case where we have an election — whether it’s for a county supervisor, or state rep or senator or even the race for president — where the race is very, very very close, that’s the situation where everybody will be holding their breath to see what happens the following week when those stragglers are counted,” according to Olsen.
But Olsen says past history does show that Iowans are generally good about turning in absentee ballots early and he’s hopeful the results will be clear on Election Night. About one half-million Iowans have already requested absentee ballots.