More Republicans registered in Iowa ahead of election, new data shows

By: - November 1, 2022 5:47 pm

Voting booths at Friendship Baptist Church in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by Kate Kealey/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Republicans outnumber Democrats by nearly 90,000 active voter registrations in Iowa, according to an Iowa Secretary of State report released Tuesday, but there are more registered Democrats in three of the state’s four congressional districts.

With the election one week away, there are more than 2.2 million Iowans registered to vote, and over 1.8 million are listed as active voters, Iowa’s November voter registration totals showed. Of those actively registered, about 687,000 are Republicans, 598,000 are Democrats and 577,000 are independents.

Though Republicans outnumber Democrats statewide, there are more active Democrats registered in the state’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd congressional districts. There are roughly 3,000 more Democrats than Republicans in the 3rd District. That’s where U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, Iowa’s sole Democrat in Congress, is running for reelection against Republican Zach Nunn.

In Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, roughly 161,000 Democrats are registered compared to 159,000 Republicans. There are also more than 152,000 independents registered in the district, where where U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks is running for reelection against Democratic challenger Christina Bohannan.

In the 2020 election, Miller-Meeks won her first term in Congress with a six-vote margin in the 2nd Congressional District, one of the tightest elections in federal history. After redistricting, Miller-Meeks moved to the redrawn 1st District to represent much of the same territory. Election forecasters like Sabato’s Crystal Ball and the Cook Political Report rate this year’s race as leaning toward a victory for the Republican incumbent.

The tightest voter registration margin is in Iowa’s 2nd District, with just 119 more Democrats registered to vote than Republicans. Democrat Liz Mathis is challenging U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson for the northeastern Iowa seat.

In contrast, there are nearly 100,000 more active Republicans in Iowa’s 4th District than Democrats. There are more than 207,000 Iowans registered with the GOP compared to about 112,000 Democrats. That difference makes up most of the gap between party registrations statewide.

More than 200,000 Iowans have voted

The state Secretary of State’s office also released information Monday on the state’s early voting numbers. Nearly 200,000 absentee ballots were returned as of Monday according to the office, of the 273,000 issued. Of those early votes, almost 110,000 were returned by Democrats and more than 61,000 by Republicans, with the rest from independents.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot has passed, but those who have received one have until 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8, to return the ballot. The local county auditor’s office must have a voter’s absentee ballot by that deadline to count, a change from previous Iowa law.

While the secretary of state’s voter registration data gives a snapshot of where Iowa stands in the final week before the election, Iowans still have the chance to register to vote on Election Day. Those not currently registered can bring a valid form of identification and proof of registration to their polling location to register and cast their ballot. Information on needed documents and polling locations can be found on the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office website.

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Robin Opsahl
Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl is an Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter covering the state Legislature and politics. They have experience covering government, elections and more at media organizations including Roll Call, the Sacramento Bee and the Wausau Daily Herald.