Joan Schettler, Carroll County Auditor, checks a desk calendar this morning, the first day that residents could cast absentee votes in person for the Nov. 6 general election. Schettler expects that the number of absentee votes will surpass those cast in 2008. <span style="font-size: xx-small;"><em>Daily Times Herald photo by Jeff Storjohann</em></span>
Joan Schettler, Carroll County Auditor, checks a desk calendar this morning, the first day that residents could cast absentee votes in person for the Nov. 6 general election. Schettler expects that the number of absentee votes will surpass those cast in 2008. Daily Times Herald photo by Jeff Storjohann
Thursday, September 27, 2012

Iowans started casting absentee or early voting ballots today in person at auditors’ offices or satellite locations across the state.

The Carroll County Auditor’s Office mailed out 698 absentee ballots Monday and had sent out 853 by late this morning — the first day of  that process. And as of 10:30 a.m. 18 people had voted at the courthouse.

Auditor Joan Schettler said she is seeing a greater push from the presidential and congressional campaigns for early voting.

“They’re in constant contact with us,” Schettler said.

In the 2008 election, the last presidential cycle, 30 percent of Carroll Countians voted absentee.

“I expect it to be higher than that,” Schettler said.

Voters in the county can cast absentee ballots in person at the auditor’s office until 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 5, the day before the general election. The office, following Iowa legal requirements, will be open for absentee voting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27, and Saturday, Nov. 3, the two Saturdays before the election.

As of Sept. 1, there were 15,083 registered voters in Carroll County — 4,333 Democrats (28.7 percent), 4,171 Republicans (27.6 percent) and 6,950 no party (46 percent). There were 19 people registered with third parties.

The auditor’s office has six sit-down voting stations and four stand-up ones available in the courthouse.

“We might put some more tables out,” Schettler said.

Those not registered to vote can do so at the courthouse. Residents do not have to provide ID but must sign an official voter registration form and attest to being at least age 18 and a U.S. citizen. Anyone filling out false information can be charged with felony perjury and sentenced to up to five years in prison and a $7,500 fine.

The Carroll County Board of Supervisors canvasses the election results to make them official.

In 2008, Carroll County went to President Barack Obama 51 percent to 47 percent, or 5,284 to 4,905, after going for President George W. Bush in both 2004 and 2008.

Iowa as a whole went to Obama in 2008 — 54 percent to GOP presidential candidate John McCain’s 45 percent.

With a nearly 70 percent turnout among registered voters in Carroll County, Obama dominated the 2008 ground game here with absentee ballots and early voting.