Three times as many Democrats as Republicans have submitted requests for an absentee ballot in Iowa, according to numbers released by the Secretary of State’s Office today. Early voting begins on September 23, and so far Iowa county auditors have received 33,017 absentee ballot requests from registered Democrats, 11,785 from Republicans and 8,811 from no-party voters. We can’t tell which direction those independents are leaning; both Democratic and Republican campaigns have been trying to identify supporters not registered with either party.
Democrats will be pleased by their early lead, but only a small percentage of Iowa voters (perhaps 5 percent of the electorate) have submitted absentee ballot requests already. About 1.05 million Iowans cast ballots in the 2006 general election.
Iowa Democrats had a successful early voting program in 2008, which saved several state legislative seats. How well they replicate that program could make the difference in some of the battleground state House and Senate districts. Banking votes early leaves fewer voters who need to be contacted by phone or at the door. It also reduces the number of people who could be swayed by last-minute attack ads and mailers against Democratic candidates. Since early summer, Democratic candidates and volunteers have brought absentee ballot request forms with them while canvassing. Some Democrats who have voted absentee in the past have received mailings that include the request form.
Iowa Republicans are doing more early GOTV this year than in the past. I’ve been told Terry Branstad and his running mate Kim Reynolds recorded robocalls urging Republicans to vote by absentee, and the Branstad campaign produced a glossy direct-mail piece including a request form. I don’t know whether that was mailed to a large voter population or only to people who responded to the robocall that they would like to vote by absentee.
After the jump I’ve posted the full press release from the Secretary of State’s Office. The official website will update numbers for absentee ballots requested every weekday from now through the end of the campaign.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 16, 2010
SECRETARY OF STATE MAURO RELEASES ABSENTEE REQUEST NUMBERS
Statewide Totals to be Updated Daily During Election Season
DES MOINES – With just one week before early voting begins in Iowa, Secretary of State Michael A. Mauro today released the latest statewide absentee ballot request totals.
As of today, county auditors have received 53,643 absentee ballot requests. The breakdown by political party is as follows:
· Democrat: 33,017
· Republican: 11,785
· No Party: 8,811
· Other: 30
Starting today, the Secretary of State’s Office will publish the number of “absentee ballots requested” by party online every weekday morning (Monday-Friday).
The total number of “absentee ballots received” by county auditors will also be posted after in-person absentee voting starts next Thursday, September 23.
To view these numbers, visit www.IowaVotes.gov and click on the “Absentee Ballot Totals” link.
Secretary Mauro also reminded Iowans of their options for early absentee voting.
“Voting by mail is an easy, convenient, and secure way to cast a ballot,” Secretary Mauro said. “Iowans can request an absentee ballot right now and those that do will receive their ballot later this month.”
To download an absentee ballot request form, visit www.IowaVotes.gov and click on the “Absentee Voting” link or visit the direct link at http://www.sos.state.ia.us/pdf…
The completed form should then be sent to the voter’s local county auditor. To find contact information for all of Iowa’s 99 county auditors, visit www.IowaVotes.gov and click on the “Find Your County Auditor” link.
More information on the upcoming November 2 General Election can be found by visiting the Secretary of State’s website at www.IowaVotes.gov, by calling the Iowa Secretary of State’s office at 515-281-0145 (toll-free at 1-888-SOS-Vote), or by contacting your local county auditor’s office.