In-person absentee voting, similar but different than early voting, is going full steam in the Hawkeye state where early and absentee voting totals have already surpassed 2004 totals and are nearly topping 2008 numbers.
Iowa Secretary of State spokesman Chad Olsen told Conservative Daily News that 531,996 of the 1,936,901 actively registered voters have voted as of Tuesday. With 27.5% of the registered vote having been pulled in already and early voting going until November 5th, it is conceivable that upwards of 35% could vote before election day.
In 2004, 460,059 Iowa voters chose to vote prior to election day. In 2008 that number rose to 545,739 – less than four thousand more than have voted so far in that state. By any measure, Iowa is on-pace for record early voting.
Registered Democrats took the lead in requesting absentee ballots and getting them turned in. Democrats had requested 44.4% of all ballots and had turned in 46.3% of the total ballots received as of October 23rd. Republicans accounted for 31% of the ballots requested and had turned in 32.6% of all received ballots. Independents have turned in 21.8% of the total ballots received.
Fast forward to this week and as of October 30th, Democrats equal 43.7% of all early votes while Republicans account for 32.2% and Independents are 24%. Democrats are strongly participating in early voting – a strong result for a heavy Democrat get out the vote effort that has focused on getting the base to vote early.
81.3% of all absentee ballots requested by Democrats have now been turned in while 84.1% of Republican ballots and 75% of Independent ballots have been turned in. That leaves 53,390 Democrat ballots, 32,409 Republican ballots and 42,650 Independent ballots yet to be returned. Mitt Romney leads Obama by 16-20 points among Independents in recent polls which could indicate a large contingent of early ballots out for Romney coming from unaffiliated voters.
37.4% of registered Democrats have voted as of October 30th. 27.3% of Republicans have voted and 18.6% of Independents. There is a flood of Independent voters that are waiting until the last minute to vote and will make a huge impact on the results in Iowa.
By the time early/absentee voting is completed in Iowa next Monday, it is likely that 65-70% of Iowa voters will be left to cast ballots. Considering who has already voted, that remaining 65% will likely be heavily leaning Romney.
In relation to the early vote, Mr. Olsen also told CDN that the Secretary’s office was not aware of any legal challenges and that no major issues were being experienced. Mr. Olsen also confirmed that the United Nations had election observers in the state. Olsen said that the U.N. has “two election observers in Iowa, with 2 more due to arrive. We have met with the 2 representatives and informed them that they are not allowed to observe activity at polling locations in Iowa and they have stated that they will respect Iowa law.” Poll workers have been instructed to “order the arrest” of any persons present at the polling place that are not specifically permitted to be there by Iowa law.
Iowa voters can vote in person this Saturday at any county courthouse/auditor’s office during normal business hours Mon-Fri including Monday November 5th and Satuday, November 3rd from 9am-5pm due to extended hours.
If anyone observes illegal activity at in-person, satellite or polling locations they are instructed to call the Election Hotline at 1-888-SOS-VOTE.