Linn County Democratic Chairwoman Diane Hoffmann said her party’s efforts are paying off in a lopsided advantage in absentee ballots.
“That has been one of our major outreaches,” Hoffmann, of Mount Vernon, said this afternoon. “We have been stressing how easy it is to request an absentee ballot, send it in. Then Nov. 6, if you get sick you’ve already made your vote. It’s in the bank.”
Linn County Auditor Joel Miller said this morning his office has received 12,879 absentee ballots and has been receiving about 400 a day.The auditor’s office had received 6,814 absentee ballots by Sept. 14, 2008. There were 25,168 absentee ballots cast that year.
Miller, a Democrat, said 75 percent have come from registered Democrats, 5 percent from Republicans, with the balance coming from independents.
Hoffmann said the national party made a priority of identifying voters registered and likely to vote Democratic, starting this spring.
“One of the major parts of our campaign strategy is boots on the ground and that means canvassing,” she said. “That’s been one of the strong components.”
Elections staff will begin counting the ballots Nov. 5 – the first day it’s legally allowed – to ensure they’re tabulated by Election Day, Miller said. Results won’t be released until polls have closed.
“I don’t even ask,” Miller said. “They won’t tell me. I don’t want to know.”
Results through today leave Hoffmann “cautiously optimistic. We are going to be as diligent as we have been for the last two, three, four months.”
The Democratic edge doesn’t bother Linn County GOP Chairman Steve Armstrong.
“That’s probably about about average,” said Armstrong, of Cedar Rapids. “There’s a certain number of Republicans that’ll vote absentee, but most of the Republicans we talk to on the telephone, their strong preference is to vote at the polls.”
Armstrong isn’t sure why.
“Actually, I don’t ask ‘em,” he said.
If absentees continue to come in at this rate, there’s a chance half the county’s votes this year will be absentee. Absentees accounted for 22 percent of 113,721 votes in the 2008 presidential election.