Nearly 1 in 3 Iowa votes already banked

Unless turnout a week from today shatters the record set in 2012, nearly a third of the Iowans who will participate in this year’s general election have already cast ballots.

Iowa’s 99 county auditors had received 472,085 absentee ballots as of November 1.

One week before the 2012 general election, Iowa county auditors had received 531,996 ballots, which was about 33.5 percent of the 1,589,899 votes cast. I expect this year’s turnout to fall a little below the 2012 level, because both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are unpopular among Iowa voters. The number of Iowans who vote but leave the presidential line blank on their ballot, or support a third-party candidate for president, will probably also be higher than in years past.

Absentee ballot requests from Iowa voters totaled 593,435 today. At the same point in the 2012 campaign, 660,643 Iowans had requested an early ballot–41.6 percent of the number who eventually voted.

Follow me after the jump for more on how this year’s early vote numbers compare to the last presidential election. Iowa Democrats slightly increased their absentee ballot lead over the past week; click here for daily tables showing absentee ballots requested and received statewide and in each of Iowa’s four Congressional districts. Pat Rynard examined the county-level early vote numbers as of October 31.

The tables enclosed below show how many absentee ballots Iowa voters have requested and county auditors have received as of November 1 and at the same point during the 2012 campaign. I’m using October 30, 2012 for comparison because that date represents the same number of days before the November 6 general election.

Note that when an Iowan votes early in person at a county auditor’s office or satellite location, that counts as a ballot requested and a ballot received on the same day.

Democrats are generally feeling better about the early vote numbers than they were a month ago. However, the party’s early vote advantage won’t be as large as it was in the last presidential race.

Key points:

• As of November 1, Iowa Democrats had requested 49,955 more absentee ballots than Republicans. A week ago, the lead was 42,446 ballot requests. A week before that, the lead was 28,944.

But as of October 30, 2012, Iowa Democrats had submitted 82,171 more absentee ballot requests than Republicans.

• As of November 1, county auditors had received 43,073 more absentee ballots from Democrats than from Republicans. A week earlier, the lead in votes banked was 41,095. A week before that, the comparable lead was 38,069.

As of October 30, 2012, county auditors had received 61,190 more ballots from registered Democrats than Republicans.

• At this writing, Iowa Republicans have requested almost as many absentee ballots this year as they had at the same point in 2012, while Democrats are at 88.4 percent of their 2012 ballot request number.

Democrats may not need to match the 2012 early vote lead for Clinton to narrowly defeat Trump this year, but the larger the cushion, the better. Republicans typically turn out more election-day voters here.

• No-party voters have submitted about 80 percent as many absentee ballot requests as at this point in 2012, unchanged over the past week. Four years ago, most Iowans aligned with neither party who voted early supported Obama. If Quinnipiac’s latest Iowa poll is accurate, Clinton is winning the early vote among no-party voters this year.

• Democrats now have only a slightly better absentee ballot return rate in Iowa: since last Tuesday it rose from 68.5 percent to 81.4 percent. County auditors have received 80.2 percent of the ballots requested by Republicans, up from 61.4 percent a week ago.

Democrats now have to work on getting 47,049 outstanding absentee ballots returned. Republicans have 40,167 ballots to chase. No-party voters have requested 33,627 ballots that have not yet reached county auditors.

Iowans planning to return absentee ballots by mail should return them as soon as possible. Post offices no longer routinely put postmarks on ballots. To be counted, ballots must either arrive at the county auditor’s office by 9 pm on November 8 (mail or hand-delivered) or be postmarked no later than November 7.

Remember to follow instructions carefully when filling out absentee ballots. The ballot must be sealed inside the secrecy envelope, which must be sealed inside a signed affidavit envelope. County auditors prefer for voters to use a black ink pen, but ballots marked with a pencil or another color ink will also be counted.

If you requested an absentee ballot but have decided to vote on election day instead, do not throw away the ballot that came in the mail. Iowans can bring an unmarked ballot to a regular polling place on November 8, “surrender” it, and receive a regular ballot. If you show up at the polling place without being able to prove that you didn’t mail back your absentee ballot, a poll worker will give you a provisional ballot.

Any comments about the presidential race are welcome in this thread.

Absentee ballots requested by Iowa voters as of November 1, 2016
Congressional district Democrats Republicans no-party voters other total
IA-01 65,307 44,173 37,258 494 147,232
IA-02 72,271 46,951 37,057 554 156,833
IA-03 68,985 54,227 31,156 515 154,883
IA-04 46,026 57,283 30,779 399 134,487
 
statewide 252,589 202,634 136,250 1,962 593,435

Absentee ballots received by Iowa county auditors as of November 1, 2016
Congressional district Democrats Republicans no-party voters other total
IA-01 52,511 35,119 27,614 359 115,603
IA-02 60,304 38,673 28,649 429 128,055
IA-03 54,758 42,351 22,743 368 120,220
IA-04 37,967 46,324 23,617 299 108,207
 
statewide 205,540 162,467 102,623 1,455 472,085

Absentee ballots requested by Iowa voters as of October 30, 2012
Congressional district Democrats Republicans no-party voters other total
IA-01 74,123 44,187 47,544 210 166,064
IA-02 82,655 48,300 48,650 271 179,876
IA-03 74,146 55,005 37,944 195 167,290
IA-04 54,928 56,189 36,132 164 147,413
 
statewide 285,852 203,681 170,270 840 660,643

Absentee ballots received by Iowa county auditors as of October 30, 2012
Congressional district Democrats Republicans no-party voters other total
IA-01 59,954 37,232 35,153 158 132,497
IA-02 68,255 41,252 37,155 221 146,883
IA-03 59,220 45,815 27,943 135 133,113
IA-04 45,033 46,973 27,369 128 119,503
 
statewide 232,462 171,272 127,620 642 531,996

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