The latest data from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office shows almost 348,000 Iowans have already cast a ballot for the November 6 General Election.
Iowa law allows so-called “early voting” to begin 40 days before Election Day and in 2008 — the last presidential election — about 36 percent of the votes cast in Iowa were “early” votes. Chad Olsen, a spokesman for Iowa’s Secretary of State, says more than half a million Iowans have asked for an absentee ballot, but tens of thousands haven’t been returned yet.
“Early voting started off with a bang in Iowa,” Olsen says. “Our record was in 2008, where we had about 550,000 Iowans vote early. It seemed that we were going to surpass that easily this year and we’re on track to do that, but the numbers have slowed down a little bit.”
On any given day this past week, about 5000-7000 Democrats and between 5000 and 7000 Republicans have been voting.
“On average, they’ve been pretty consistent, just gradually slowing down from the fast pace that we had a few weeks ago,” Olsen says.
Democrats hold a distinct edge in early voting in three of the four Iowa congressional districts. However, in the fourth congressional district where Republican Congressman Steve King faces Democrat Christie Vilsack, early voting patterns are far closer when comparing the two parties. Nearly 45,000 Democrats have asked for an absentee ballot, compared to over 44,000 Republicans — for a difference between the two parties of just 644.