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Iowans met with long lines to vote early on last Saturday before election

Voters had to wait in line up to an hour to vote in Des Moines.

DES MOINES, Iowa — In the state's largest county, more than 250 voters waited in line as the Polk County Auditor's office opened for the last Saturday of in-person early voting for the General Election.

Iowans were in good spirits, some bringing coffee and pets along with them as they waited up to an hour to get inside and cast their ballots. The line wrapped around Court Avenue and several blocks.

Face coverings were required for voters to wear inside the county building, and they were provided as people stepped inside. Social distancing, for the most part, was maintained throughout the long line.

Poll workers walked up and down the line, ensuring people had the materials they needed in order to vote. 

Credit: WOI

Since early voting began, Polk County has seen a steady number of voters come in to cast their ballots.

Absentee ballots can still be brought to county auditors' offices throughout Iowa. Those doing so can skip the long line and go inside to hand in their ballot to the poll workers. 

Also beginning Saturday, county auditor staff throughout the state can begin the first step in processing absentee ballots. In a new order issued by the Iowa Legislative Council earlier this fall, Iowa election officials can start opening the outer absentee ballot envelopes on the Saturday before Election Day.

Before the directive, election officials could only begin this process the day before the election. The ballots themselves will remain in the secrecy envelopes, and can't be counted until Nov. 2. 

The idea is to cut down on the time it takes to process the thousands of absentee ballots in the short window of time. Already, Iowa has hit a record number of absentee ballot requests this election. More than 885,000 have been returned.

Local 5 has more than a dozen resources to help you vote. Click on the links below, or visit our Voter Guide section.

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