OTTUMWA — As the first week of early voting in Iowa has closed, nearly a quarter of registered voters in Wapello County have already requested to vote early or by mail.

According to numbers from the Iowa Secretary of State, 5,634 absentee ballots have been requested, representing a little more than 25% of registered voters in the county.

In contrast, there were 6,459 absentee votes tallied in Wapello County in the last presidential election.

More Democratic voters are registered in the county than Republican voters, and they make up nearly 60% of the absentee requests to date.

Statewide, about half of Democratic registered voters have requested absentee ballots. About 28.6% of registered Republicans have.

Democratic voters lead in absentee requests in 63 of Iowa’s 99 counties, according to the latest available data, even though Republicans have more registered voters in 79 of 99 counties.

In Jefferson County, 32.7% of registered voters have requested absentee ballots. Elsewhere in the Courier coverage area, 25% of voters in Appanoose County have requested ballots, 24.5% in Davis, 25.3% in Monroe and 19% in Van Buren.

Voters have to postmark absentee ballot requests by Monday, Oct. 19. Requests can be hand-delivered until Oct. 24. Absentee ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by midnight Nov. 2, or hand-delivered to the auditor's office before polls close Election Day, to count.

Those wishing to request an absentee ballot through the mail can download and print a form at wapellocountyelections.org or through the Iowa Secretary of State at sos.iowa.gov.

Early voting in-person can occur at the auditor’s office from now through Nov. 2.

The Wapello County Auditor’s Office will also be open for early voting in person from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3.

County-by-county by the numbers

Wapello: 5,634 total requests (3,355 Democrat, 844 no party, 1,419 Republican, 16 other)

Appanoose: 2,248 total requests (1,009 Democrat, 288 no party, 948 Republican, 3 other)

Davis: 1,275 total requests (635 Democrat, 113 no party, 525 Republican, 2 other)

Jefferson: 3,792 total requests (2,476 Democrat, 623 no party, 2,049 Republican, 11 other)

Monroe: 1,278 total requests (623 Democrat, 142 no party, 508 Republican, 5 other)

Van Buren: 952 total requests (343 Democrat, 115 no party, 492 Republican, 2 other)

Kyle Ocker is the group editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at kocker@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

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Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the first vice president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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