Early voting starts in Iowa on Thursday as absentee ballot requests surge

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Early voting by absentee ballot will begin in Iowa on Thursday, and the secretary of state is encouraging all eligible voters to participate.

Iowa allows absentee voting by mail and offers early in-person voting at the offices of county auditors beginning the 40th day before Election Day.

Residents have increasingly opted for voting by absentee ballot in recent elections for the convenience and in response to increasing pressure from political parties striving to get as many votes as possible cast by Election Day.

Secretary of State Matt Schultz announced earlier this week that the number of absentee ballots requested by Iowa voters this year is nearly double the number sought 43 days before the 2010 election.

Democrats have in recent election cycles excelled at the strategy but the numbers released Monday show Republican absentee ballot requests are up nearly 145 percent from 2010 to just over 31,000. Democratic requests have climbed nearly 67 percent to nearly 58,000.

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