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early voting in iowa In this photo from 2010, Sherrie Taha, of Des Moines, Iowa, seals her absentee ballot on the first day of early voting for the November general election, Thursday, September 23, 2010. (Photo: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Election 2012: Early Voting Begins in Iowa

Ballots being cast in 29 states five weeks before Election Day

By Alysa Goethe | null null , null

BETTENDORF, Iowa — Election Day might be 40 days away, but voters in some states have already begun casting their ballots.

Since September 6, 24 states have begun accepting absentee ballots. Some states, like Vermont, have also begun early in-person voting.

Today, Iowa and four other states began accepting early votes, too. Iowa is accepting both absentee ballots and early in-person votes.

Early voting is important because it gives people an opportunity to vote that are usually too busy with work or family to vote. Iowa also has a lot of elderly people, called “Snowbirds,” who live in another state during election times.  Early voting gives them the opportunity to be able to cast their votes.

Iowa voters can either mail-in their vote, go to a satellite voting location (most times a library), vote online, or go to the auditor’s office to vote early.

Many Iowans who haven’t voted early in the past are deciding to participate in early or mail-in voting this year.

“I have not done mail-in voting in the past, but I’m going to try voting early this year,” Beth Campbell of Bettendorf, Iowa, said. She added that it's nice not having to wait in long lines and being crowded.

Of course, some voters are choosing to wait for Election Day to cast their ballot. Stacy Barnett of Bettendorf, Iowa, is not taking part in early voting this year because she is still undecided about whom to vote for, like many other voters this year.

But the trend in 2012 is towards an increase in early voting, according to Roxanna Moritz. Moritz is the Auditor for Scott County, Iowa, a Commissioner of Elections, and a member of the Iowa Election Board.

“I think more people will vote early this year than in the 2008 election," Moritz said. "In 2008, about 38,000 people requested early voting ballots. Usually it is hard to say, but I think it will be a great turnout.”

Among those certain to cast early votes are the people monitoring the election.

“[Early voting] makes it easier for the people working the election because there won’t be as many people at the polls for the actual Election Day,” Moritz said.

Moritz has many responsibilities as Scott County Auditor. According to the City of Davenport’s website, the Auditor's office prepares and maintains all official records of meeting minutes, Board voting records, resolutions, contracts, and correspondence. The office publishes records and other legal notices.

The Auditor also acts as County Commissioner of Elections and administers all federal, state, and local elections that take place within the County. Responsibilities include voter registrations, absentee voting, recruitment of precinct election officials, printing and counting ballots, receiving nomination papers, financial disclosure documents, and notifying voters of elections.

All of these duties require a lot of time, attention, and commitment — especially on Election Day. That's why Moritz, along with everyone who works in the Auditor's Office and polling stations, is an early voter.

“All of us in the Auditor’s Office vote early because we won’t have time to vote during Election Day, and I love voting early," Moritz said. "It’s a great opportunity that more people should take part of.”

Early voting begins in more states in the days and weeks ahead. You can find a complete list of when states begin accepting early votes at Reed College's Early Voting Information Center website.


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