Iowa’s most popular republican has launched an effort to try to boost “early voting” for himself and other republican candidates. You may hear it soon on your telephone. The message begins like this: “I don’t like to see our taxdollars wasted, so I’m calling to ask a favor of you. This is Chuck Grassley.” Grassley says Secretary of State Chet Culver “Is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars” to send an absentee ballot request form to every Iowan. Grassley says that money will be wasted unless Iowans take advantage and ask to vote-by-mail. Grassley, who is seeking reelection and faces democrat challenger Art Small, concluded the call by asking folks to vote for republicans, as a favor to him. The state’s top democrat — Governor Tom Vilsack — has called Grassley to complain about the barb — the one about wasting taxdollars on absentee balloting. Vilsack says he has no problem with Grassley calling people and telling ’em to vote republican, but Vilsack is upset by Grassley’s comments about democrats wasting money, and he asked Grassley to think about “pulling the call.” Vilsack indicates the Grassley call may be a backhanded compliment to democrats. Vilsack says the call signifies “an understanding” that democrats do a better job with their absentee ballot program. He says the numbers are pretty significant at this point in time. Democrats have tens of thousands more absentee ballot requests in to county auditors than do republicans. G-O-P officials counter that they get better turnout among republican voters on election day, so that’s where much of their attention is focused.
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