In Iowa, there is not one Election Day, there are forty. Early voting began this morning and continues every day through November 8.
One of the best ways you can help the candidate you support is to vote early for them. As someone who has managed several state legislative races in Iowa, I have developed an appreciation for early voters. Outside of volunteers willing to do direct voter contact, early voters are my favorite voters.
In the last few weeks of the election, the volume of campaign mail, canvassers, and calls increases dramatically. By voting early, you remove yourself from the campaign’s list and the campaign can focus their efforts on turning out others.
This year, the presidential candidates are capitalizing on Iowa’s early voting laws. Yesterday, Donald Trump held a rally in Council Bluffs to encourage his supporters to vote early. Council Bluffs was an excellent choice because it consistently lags behind in voter turnout. The Iowa-based political blog, Iowa Starting Line, has noted that the city’s demographics and fluid party loyalty favor Trump. Hillary hosted a rally in Des Moines today and she will no doubt be encouraging her supporters to vote as soon as possible.
The presidential race gets a lot of attention, especially this year when the first presidential debate broke the record for the most-watched in U.S. history. Even if your favorite candidate did not win his or her party’s nomination, it’s important to remember that your vote counts and the president is only one of many offices decided by your ballot. In Iowa, you will also be able to vote for retention of judges and candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Iowa State House, Iowa State Senate (depending on your district), and county auditor, among others.
How to Vote Early
Iowa has a number of policies that make it easy for eligible voters to vote: accessible absentee voting, early voting in person at the county auditor’s office, early voting at satellite locations, and same day registration. You can request absentee ballots from the Iowa Secretary of State’s website, where you can also track your ballot. If you want to vote, there is no need to wait for November 8.