Government

Iowa Democrats exceeding 2014 early votes

The state's Republicans on pace to meet 2014 total

People wait in line for the early polling station at the Coralville Public Library to open so they can cast their ballots in Coralville, Iowa on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
People wait in line for the early polling station at the Coralville Public Library to open so they can cast their ballots in Coralville, Iowa on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

With Monday’s early voting totals still uncounted, Iowa Democrats already had exceeded and Iowa Republicans were on track to meet their early voting performance from the last midterm elections in 2014 — even though the law allows them 11 fewer days this time.

Democrats in 2014 cast 191,036 early votes. Figures posted Monday by the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office that include totals through the weekend show Democrats this time had cast 215,663 early votes.

With Monday’s numbers still to be included, Republicans appeared on pace to submit roughly the same number of early votes as they did in 2014, hitting 175,954 by the end of this weekend.

Monday was the last day to cast an early ballot. A new state law shortens the early voting period of 40 days in 2014 to 29 days now. Polls Tuesday are open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Political experts caution that early ballot totals are an unreliable way of predicting the outcome of an election. Especially in tight races, turnout on Election Day can be the deciding factor. And of course with the individual early votes not having been counted, there is no way of knowing yet if a voter registered to a particular party voted for that party’s candidates in any race. What gets released before the polls close is the total number of absentee ballots requested and returned by party.

As of Monday — but not including that day’s totals — figures show:

l Linn County: 34,3670 early ballots were returned. Of those, 16,554 were from Democrats and 9,091 were from Republicans.

l Johnson County: 31,509 early ballots were submitted. Of those, 20,559 were from Democrats and 4,736 from Republicans.

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l U.S. 1st Congressional District: (Republican U.S. Rep. Rod Blum vs. Democratic state Rep. Abby Finkenauer): 122,314 early votes were received. Of those, 55,089 were from Democrats and 38,123 from Republicans. These totals include Linn County.

l U.S. 2nd Congressional District: (Democratic U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack vs. Republican Chris Peters): 132,150 early votes were received. Of those, 62,497 were from Democrats and 42.024 were from Republicans. These totals include Johnson County.

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