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2020 election turnout highest in state history

More than 1.7 million voters cast their ballots in the General Election.
Credit: AP
Chris Helps, of Earlham, Iowa, fills out his ballot during early voting, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, in Adel, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

DES MOINES, Iowa — Despite a pandemic, a record number of Iowa voters participated in the 2020 General Election, making history with 76% turnout, one of the highest in the nation.

The State Canvassing Board met on Nov. 30 to certify the results of the general election. 

“I’m proud of all the work our election officials and poll workers put in and of the way Iowans showed up in record numbers to make their voices heard,” Secretary Paul Pate said. “Despite the pandemic, we had record-breaking turnout in the June primary and November general election. That shows once again that Iowans’ commitment to civic engagement is unrivaled.”

All 24 counties conducted a recount of results in Iowa’s Second Congressional District race. The official numbers following the recount show Mariannette Miller-Meeks winning over Rita Hart by six votes, 196,964-196,958.

“This race reinforces that every single vote can make a difference and hopefully sends a message about how important it is to be a voter,” Pate said.

Hart can still challenge the results in court, and her campaign said it is weighing its options to make sure every Iowan's voice is heard.

Below are some statistics from Iowa’s 2020 general election:

  • Voter turnout was 1,700,130, setting a new state record. The previous high was 1,589,951 set in 2012.
  • 1,001,573 Iowans cast absentee ballots, another state record. That accounted for 58.9% of all ballots.
  • The percentage of registered voters that participated was 75.77%, one of the highest turnout rates in the country.
  • Every county in the state surpassed 65% turnout. 
  • Harrison County had the best turnout percentage, 87.5%.
  • 14 counties surpassed 80% turnout: Benton, Bremer, Cedar, Dallas, Delaware, Fayette, Grundy, Harrison, Kossuth, Madison, Ringgold, Sioux, Warren, and Wayne.

The State Canvassing Board is comprised of Iowa’s Governor, Secretary of State, Secretary of Agriculture, State Auditor and State Treasurer.

The full State Canvass is available on the Secretary of State’s website at this link.