Early Voting Numbers in Iowa Down Compared to 2012 Election

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The reaction on social media to the debate Monday night was harsh.

"Writing this is so hard to watch," Kelly Quinn wrote on Facebook. "I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes. It sounds dramatic, but I am so unbelievably devastated for our country in this moment."

Christina Paterson ended up voting for Donald Trump but agrees with the sentiment that the options this year aren't great.

"This probably sounds terrible, but out of 300 million people, these are our choices," Paterson said. "I just, I think we`ve, partly media, but we`ve created a system where most people don`t want to put themselves out on that ledge."

Other voters had a less difficult time making up their minds.

"I happen to think that Hillary Clinton is very well qualified and I would have voted for her no matter who the Republican candidate was going to be," said Debbie Hubbell.

"We got to have Donald Trump in there," said Jeff Pettijohn. "That`s all there is to it. If we don`t, this country`s shot."

Despite dissatisfaction with the two major party presidential candidates, the Polk County Elections Commissioner Jamie Fitzgerald believes voter turnout will be high.

"We think we`re gonna have 100,000 early votes in Polk County," said Fitzgerald. "We had 93,000 in 2012."

Political Science Professor Art Sanders says lack of enthusiasm for a candidate does not necessarily translate into low voter participation.

"Fear can be just as motivating to get people to vote as support, in some ways it can be even a stronger motivation, so the this is the lesser of two evils argument is not gonna keep people from the polls," Sanders said.

Despite the high hopes and projections from the Polk County auditor on the strong voter turnout he's expecting this year, it is true that 29 days out from the election, early voting numbers are down compared to 2012 so far.

They're about 12,000 absentee ballot requests short of where they were at this same time last election.