MASON CITY — There will be a lot of absentee ballots in Cerro Gordo Counyt to count for Tuesday’s primary election. Almost 5500 absentee ballots had been requested for the primary, driven in part by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate mailing an absentee ballot request form to every voter in the state, encouraging them to vote by absentee instead of going to the polls to vote due to concerns about COVID-19. Cerro Gordo County Auditor Adam Wedmore says the county’s voters have shown they’d rather vote from home instead of heading to the polls. “It’s actually led to a record-breaking turnout for absentee voting for a primary election. What we’re seeing for numbers is what we’d expect for absentee voting in a presidential general election, not a primary election.”Wedmore says there’s no comparison between this primary election and the one four years ago. “In the 2016 primary, we processed right at 270 absentee ballots, and that was for people that requested them by mail as well as those voters who voted at our counter here at the courthouse. To date, we’ve processed about 5469 absentee ballots, so we’ve significantly increased the number of absentee voters for this election.” With the enormous amount of absentee ballots being cast, a bipartisan absentee ballot board will start counting ballots sometime before the polls close on Tuesday. “On Tuesday afternoon usually is when we’ll start actually counting them. Those results aren’t known, they aren’t displayed, they aren’t released until the polls close. Our equipment is able to process a significant amount of ballots. So we expect no problem in getting all those ballots processed and be ready to report those results when the polls close on election night.” People can still vote by absentee ballot at the courthouse during normal business hours today. Those who have an absentee ballot that hasn’t been turned in must either hand-deliver it to the auditor’s office by 9:00 PM on election night, or if you plan to mail it, you’ll need to make sure that it bears a legible postmark dated today and it must be received in the county auditor’s office by noon on Monday June 8th. If you have any questions you can contact the auditor’s office at 421-3041 or visit the county’s website at cgcounty.org.