It appears 2010 early voting totals may set a record for midterm elections in Iowa. Secretary of State Michael Mauro says county auditors have already processed around 174,000 absentee ballot requests and there’s still four weeks to go before election day.

In comparison, just over 242,000 Iowans voted absentee in 2006 and 2002 general elections. Mauro says if absentee voting continues at half the current rate, early voting in Iowa will far exceed the totals from ’06 and ’02. He believes Iowans find voting early is more convenient than waiting for election day.

“I also think the political parties and the candidates are working early voters and I also think voters, if they’ve made their mind up, want to participate and it keeps their phone from ringing as it gets closer to election time,” Mauro said. Democrats are leading Republicans by a fairly wide margin in terms of both absentee ballots requested and received.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, Democrats have requested 90,363 absentee ballots, compared to 54,221 by Republicans. Democrats have returned 29,418 of those ballots, compared to 13,311 by Republicans.

Learn more about early voting here: