Surge reported in request for absentee ballots in Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Surge reported in request for absentee ballots in Iowa

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

The Iowa Secretary of State's office says it's seen a big boost in the number of absentee ballots for the November election compared to the last mid-term election in 2010.

It comes as both parties try to give their candidates a boost in the weeks leading to the election.

Republican requests for absentee ballots have jumped 145%.

Democrat requests have increased nearly 67% from that time.

Both sides want to make sure their supporters cast their ballots.

At the Black Hawk County Auditor's office, absentee ballots are nearly ready to be mailed out.

Starting Thursday, people can vote absentee in person at the courthouse, by mail or at satellite voting locations.

"That will be a huge task to get those ballots mailed out. We expect traffic at the courthouse to vote in-person. We have additional staff hired, temporary staff, more than that as we get closer to election day," said Black Hawk Co. Auditor Grant Veeder.

With a contested governor's race and a close race for U.S. Senate, analysts say the candidates and the parties want to make sure their supporters don't leave anything to chance.

"If you're a candidate and you can bank that support and get those absentee votes out early, it makes it much easier to focus on people who are still undecided and if you get people in your corner and something happens, you've still got their votes," said KWWL political analyst Chris Larimer.

But do more absentee ballot requests mean higher turnout?

Veeder says it's not quite clear.

"It's hard to determine do we have a lot of people voting absentee who wouldn't have voted before and does that signal a higher turnout on election day or does it just mean more people are voting absentee and that'll increase the total overall number? It's difficult to tell," said Veeder.

You can request an absentee ballot by mail until October 31.

You can vote in-person up until the day before the election.

While absentee ballots are important to both parties, the number of requests of absentee ballots by voters with no party affiliation are up 138% to 23,000.

There are 31,000 requests from registered Republicans and nearly 58,000 from registered Democrats.

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