Boone County residents turned out in record numbers for early voting during the 2020 general election cycle.
Of the 53,841 Boone County residents registered to vote, 39,030 (72.49 percent) cast their ballot by the end of Nov. 3. Of the ballots cast, 7,069 were sent via paper absentee (7,338 were issued as of Nov. 2), and 25,690 were walk-in absentee, meaning 32,759 early votes were cast during the election and more than 60 percent of Boone County registered voters participated in early voting.
Total absentee votes in the 2020 general election surpassed the 22,005 cast in 2016, and the total votes cast in 2020 were more than the 33, 067 cast in 2016, according to the Boone County Clerk’s Office.
Boone County Clerk Jessica Fouts said many residents took advantage of early voting this year, but she did not attribute the large early voting turnout to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have been doing vote centers since 2014 and pushing that for the past six years,” Fouts said. “I think they are finally just catching on and realizing how beneficial it is to have the 30 days before the election to vote. I don’t think it’s related to the pandemic.”
Fouts and her team counted and submitted all Boone County votes by 10 p.m. Nov. 3, in part due to hiring twice as many counters. She had expected to have a significant number of early votes counted when polls closed.
“Everything has went smoothly,” Fouts said. “Most locations have not had longer than a 15- or 20-minute wait at the courthouse. People walked in and walked out. Everybody has been positive and happy with the way it’s working. I think it’s been fantastic.”