Candidates wrap up campaigning with stops around the area Monday
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – About 10 county election workers were busy processing absentee ballots at the North Lee County Courthouse Monday morning.
Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise said due to the coronavirus and the large number of absentee ballots counties are allowed to begin counting the ballots prior to election day.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, 9,962 absentee ballots were requested in Lee County and to date 9,428 have been received as of Monday morning at 9 a.m.
That number represents 57% of the total votes case in the county in the 2016 general election.
Two election officials observed the counting process at the North Lee County Administration Building just before noon, while a small line waited to have their temperatures taken before being allowed in to vote in person or for other county business.
Voters who haven’t voted absentee will go to the polls Tuesday in Lee County with ballots being cast in races for President, U.S Senate, U.S. Congressional District 2, Iowa House Districts 83 and 84, Iowa Senate District 42, and County Supervisor. Uncontested ballots include two supervisor races, Lee County Auditor and Lee County Sheriff.
Contested local races are District 4 Supervisor between Gary Folluo (D-Keokuk) vs. Garry Seyb, Jr. (R-Donnellson). For state positions, Jeff Reichman (R-Keokuk) is putting up a stiff challenge to incumbent Rich Taylor for State Senator for the 42nd District. Martin Graber (R-Fort Madison) is challenging incumbent Jeff Kurtz (D-Fort Madison) for the Iowa House District 83, while Jeff Fager (D-Mt.Pleasant) is challenging Joe Mitchell (R-Wayland) for the House District 84 seat in extreme north Lee County. Mitchell won that seat two years ago at the age of 21.
At the federal level, a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Poll released Oct. 31, shows President Donald Trump with a 7-point lead over democratic challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden.
The poll was conducted by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines and interviewed 814 Iowans by phone who are 18 or older and said they will definitely vote or have already voted in the 2020 general election.
U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst and challenger Theresa Greenfield are entangled in one of the closest and most watched races in the country. The Iowa poll also showed Ernst with a slight lead in that contest 46% to 42%. Rita Hart (D-Wheatland) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Ottumwa) are battling in another close race for the 2nd District Congressional seat being vacated by Dave Loebsack who is retiring at the end of this term.
On Monday, Hart met with a couple dozen voters in the pocket park on Avenue G in Fort Madison.
Hart gave her stump speech about being raised with eight other children on farm and graduating from a community college before getting her teaching degree. She was previously a state senator in the 43rd district from 2013-2019.