Over three times as many Iowa Republicans as Democrats have already voted in the June 8th Primary election.

As of today, just over 7000 registered Republicans have returned absentee ballots for the June 8th election, while Democrats have returned about 2000 ballots. Terry Branstad, a Republican who is seeking the G.O.P.’s nomination for governor, says that’s in stark contrast to prior races.  

“You know what’s been happening in recent elections?  The Democrats have been killing us with absentee ballots,” Branstad says. “We see energized Republicans.” 

Branstad’s campaign has been encouraging supporters to vote early. “We’re excited about the amount of people that are voting in the Republican primary via absentee ballot,” Branstad says. “That’s very encouraging. A big turn-out is very good for us.” 

The executive director of the Iowa Democratic Party brushes aside the notion this early voting trend is a warning sign for Democrats. Norm Sterzenbach says none of the Democrats involved in primaries have implemented an early-voting push.

“The Republicans have several hotly contested primaries both statewide and on the congressional level that (are) generating more interest among voters to participate in the election,” Sterzenbach says. “So this isn’t anything unusual.” 

Sterzenbach predicts the Iowa Democratic Party will collect more “early votes” than Republicans will in the general election. “It’s a core piece of our program,” Sterzenbach says. “You know, typically 25 to 30 percent of the Democratic vote comes in early and that will be a key part of the program that we run in the fall.”

So far the Iowa Secretary of State’s office reports 20,000 absentee ballots for the June 8th primary have been mailed to Iowa voters, nearly 15,000 of those to Republicans.