November 4, 2016

According to the Carroll County Auditor’s Office, registered Democrats have cast 232 more early ballots than Republicans through the month of October.

A total of 3,429 early ballots have been cast in Carroll County from Sept. 29 to Nov. 1. Registered Democrats hold a slight edge with 1,350 early voters, while registered Republicans had cast 1,112 ballots — another 967 ballots were cast by voters without a party affiliation.

A total of 4,221 Carroll County residents voted early during the 2012 race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. Romney carried the county with almost 52.5 percent of the vote.

Auditor Kourtney Irlbeck says early voting has gone smoothly and has been similar to 2012. Topping the ticket this year are Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican opponent Donald Trump.

“It’s pretty close to 2012, we’ve seen more people vote in person this week than in October,” she said. “It should be very close, but we may end up having a few less early voters than last (presidential) election.”

Tim Tracy, Carroll County Democratic Party chairman, says he and other Democrats are pleased with the early-voting numbers, but acknowledges Democrats have traditionally performed better during early-voting periods.

“It’s a good indication that so many people have voted early,” Tracy said. “Usually the larger the turnout, the better it is for Democrats.”

Tracy also said it’s not just important for the presidential race, but for local races as well.

“I think Democrats are cautiously optimistic,” he said. “We’re feeling pretty good up and down the ticket. Hopefully we can keep the (Iowa) Senate and make gains in the House.”

States have different early-voting periods and laws, but nationally it looks as though more early ballots are being cast than in 2012.

According the The Hill newspaper, at least 34 million people have already cast a ballot in this election cycle. In 2012, only 32.3 million votes were cast ahead of Election Day.

Craig Williams, Carroll County Republican Party chairman, said being only 238 registered voters behind at this stage of the election is encouraging.

“Republicans like to vote on Election Day,” Williams said. “We’re feeling good. I think Trump has a good chance of pulling this out and it has quite a bit to do with more revelations about Hillary’s (Clinton’s) less than ethical behavior.”

Election Day is Nov. 8.

In Iowa, early ballots may be cast in person at the Auditor’s Office through Monday, Nov. 7. Absentee ballots must be postmarked no later than Nov. 7 and received no later than Nov. 14. Hand-delivered absentee ballots delivered before the polls close on Nov. 8 will also be counted.