Early voting turns out big numbers across Iowa

Emma Parker, an 18-year-old University of Iowa student, is voting for the first time. (CBS2/FOX28)

Saturday morning elected officials, political candidates, and supporters of Progress Iowa gave a final push to the polls in a rally on the second-to-last day of early voting for the midterm elections.

"We wanted to remind people to vote, to get to the polls and vote on the issues that matter," said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. A big part of their hour-long rally was focused on health care issues. Health care is what drew many to the polls at the Linn County Auditor's office, including Doug Martin.

"I want to make sure of the medical side," said Martin. "I'm getting close to that retirement age and so I want to make sure that benefits and everything are there."

Others, like Emma Parker, are far from retirement age. The 18-year-old is voting for the first time. She says diversity is important to her.

"Definitely just making sure that all people are represented in the government," said Parker. "Especially when it comes to the LGBTQ community, people of all races and ethnicities."

Linn County is on track to see far more early voters this election than the 2014 midterms. In 2014, a total of 33,314 absentee ballots were turned in. And the Friday before the election this year, a total of 32,695 had been turned in, with still two days yet to go.

As of Saturday morning, November 3, Linn County has received 15,773 absentee ballots from the Democratic party, and 8,756 Republican ballots. Even though many more Democrats have voted early, members of the GOP, like Bill Dietzen from Cedar Rapids, are still showing up to vote. Dietzen is voting straight-ticket Republican.

"I don't support everything they believe in," said Dietzen. "But I think that supporting gun rights and constitutional rights and liberties are pretty important."

The Linn County Auditor's office says that historically, more Democrats cast votes early, but Republicans have a much higher turnout on Election Day.

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