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Democrats are a third of Iowa’s registered voters, but 55 percent of those who have requested absentee ballots

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Absentee ballot request forms for the Nov. 3, 2020 general election. — Genevieve Trainor/Little Village

For the 2016 general election, a total of 286,268 Democrats requested absentee ballots. As of Wednesday morning — 41 days before the Nov. 3 election — 306,927 Democrats had requested absentee ballots, according to the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office. That is more than the number of absentee ballot requests from Republicans and people registered as No Party affiliation combined.

Democrats make up 33.7 percent of the state’s active voters according to the most recent breakdown of Iowa voters, but had submitted 55 percent of the absentee ballot requests as of Wednesday.

Republicans slightly outnumber Democrats in Iowa — 34.1 percent of active voters — but as of Wednesday had requested 28.4 percent of the absentee ballots (158,258 requests), and voters registered as No Party, who make up 31.5 percent of active voters, had requested 91,226 ballots or 16.3 percent of the total.

According to the latest breakdown of active voters in Iowa, 691,238 are registered as Republicans, 684,092 are registered as Democrats and 637,971 are registered as No Party.

In Johnson County and Linn County, the gaps in the number of absentee ballot requests between Democrats and the other two groups are even wider.

In Johnson, 23,169 Democrats had requested absentee ballots as of Wednesday, which is more than twice the number of Republicans (4,131) and voters registered No Party (5,447) who had done so. The numbers in Linn are similar: 25,206 Democrats; 9,070 Republicans and 8,018 No Party.

Democrats make up 54.1 percent of active voters in Johnson County, but have accounted for 70.5 percent of the county’s absentee ballots requests so far. Republicans, who are 18.7 percent of the county’s active voters, have requested 12.6 percent of the absentee ballots, and people registered as No Party, who make up 26.4 percent of Johnson’s active voters, are responsible for 16.6 percent of the 32,848 requests submitted by county residents.

Linn County voters have submitted 42,458 absentee ballot requests. Democrats, who account for 40.3 percent of the county’s active voters, have submitted 59.4 percent of the requests. Republicans, 27.5 percent of active voters, account for 21.4 percent of the requests, and 18.9 percent of requests have come from No Party voters, who make up 31.2 percent of Linn’s active voters.

Saturday, Oct. 24 is the last day to request an absentee ballot by mail for the Nov. 3 general election. Absentee ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Nov. 2 in order to be counted. In-person early voting, which also uses absentee ballots, will begin on Oct. 5 and continue through Nov. 2.


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