Through Friday afternoon, 3567 Democrats in the county had requested early ballots for November 4, vs. only 108 Republicans. Another 1275 no party and third party voters had turned in requests, but the Democratic field canvass had collected most of those.
That 33 to 1 ratio is probably at its peak. Republicans are just getting started, with their first absentee request mailing landing in mailboxes late last week. Still, they'll be hard-pressed to even come close to catching the Democratic head start by Election Day.
GOP operative Don McDowell wrote Wednesday:
RANT: I don't often do this, but it's become a pet peeve of mine...and it needs to be said. People who refuse to vote early by mail or at the county auditor's office because they seem to think that voting on Election Day at the polls is somehow more "patriotic" is just a completely asinine argument. To my knowledge, I have NEVER not voted early.I couldn't agree more. But a few items, like "unpatriotic," sound like things he's hearing.
When you wait until Election Day, you are actually opening yourself up to more mail pieces, more phone calls, more door knockers, and the like because the local party apparatus and the local parties do not want to take you for granted, want to ensure you do not forget, and so they continue to pursue you and perhaps waste money on you. What a shame.
If you vote early and get it out of the way, you get your ballot in the "bank" and your preferred political party and preferred candidates can instead focus their precious time, resources, and volunteer activity on those that are low propensity voters and perhaps ACTUALLY do need persuasion. Not to mention, what happens if the weather is bad or you have an emergency on Election Day?
Join me in 2014 in voting early. I challenge you. I will submit my absentee ballot request to vote early. Voting is patriotic. What's not fun is losing elections because you did not do your part to narrow the pool of voters that need focusing on. Get with it and pledge to me that you'll never be guilty of making a faulty argument that somehow voting on November 4 is more patriotic than voting on September 30. Democrats in Iowa have it figured out. Republicans in Iowa have not yet.
The Iowa Republican's Craig Robinson adds:
Republicans are simply getting out worked when it comes to early voting. It’s not difficult to institute an early voter program, it just requires staffers to get out of the air conditioned campaign office.And courthouse races.
When it comes to early voting, Republicans continue to call it good with a couple of mail pieces, while Democrats swarm neighborhoods looking for votes. While this could impact congressional races and the U.S Senate race, where it will really have an impact is in local legislative races.
These comments seemed timed to coordinate with the GOP absentee mailing and illustrate some of the hole Republicans have dug for themselves.
Terry Branstad always had good vote by mail operations in the 1990s. But post-Florida, Republicans spent the 2000s decade teaching their base that early voting was wrong, implying it was somehow "fraudulent." Heck, Matt Schultz built a whole brief career out of it.
So now Branstad is back in the ball game. He's smart and he's never lost, and he and his people know that a strong early voting program is an essential component of a winning field operation. But they're running into a base that thinks in terms of the old "72 Hour" program, that focused the whole effort on the last hours before Election Day, or as we call it in Johnson County "Late Voting Day."
Also hitting the mail this weekend was an absentee mailer from NextGenClimate, an independent but D-leaning group. Not sure how it was targeted but my wife got one and I didn't. Possible explanations: 1) targeting women or presumed single women (we have different last names). 2) Targeting perceived weak voters. My record is almost spotless; still kicking myself for missing one uncontested school board election in 1992. Koni hasn't missed one in years but on paper her Iowa voter record shows a long deceptive gap, as she lived and voted in Missouri for several years.
Put them all together and throw in the in-person early voting that starts Sept. 25, and this year will likely be the first gubernatorial election in Johnson County with more early votes than election day votes. We topped that 50% mark in the last two presidentials and in two wintertime special elections. But in 2010, even with the massive student satellite voting that the 21 Bar issue brought out, we still got 52% of the total turnout on Late Voting Day.