The Iowa Independent reports:

With a week to go until Election Day, Democrats continue to hold a nearly 2-1 edge in absentee voting in Iowa.

Statistics from the Iowa secretary of state through Monday afternoon show Democrats with 218,000 ballots requested and 168,000 cast — either by mail or in person at a satellite voting location. Republican requests are at 130,000, with 96,000 cast. No party voters have requested 112,000 ballots and returned 76,000.

The Democrats’ apparent 88,000-vote edge is more that George Bush’s 10,000-vote margin of victory in Iowa four years ago — but then, John Kerry won the early vote, too, only to lose on Election Day.

Voter registration in Iowa has topped 2 million for the first time, and, while voters with no party affiliation are still the single largest group, Democrats hold a 5.5 percent edge over Republicans. Current active registration is just under 2,001,000. 34.9 percent are Democrats, while 29.6 percent are Republican and 35.5 percent are registered with no party.

The voter registration statistics run through Saturday’s deadline for traditional voter registration. Voters may still register using the new Election Day registration process, which requires an ID and a proof of current address. This is Iowa’s first general election with same-day registration.

Going into the 2004 presidential election, state voter registration was at 1,965,000. Both parties were at 31 percent, with Republicans holding a narrow, 4,000-voter edge. George Bush carried Iowa that year by just under 10,000 votes.

Party percentages normally drop in the run-up to a presidential election, as the newest voters tend to register with no party affiliation. But this year, Democrats have actually gained a half a percent since June at the expense of Republicans, whose percentage share of the electorate has decreased. No party percentages have held steady.

Democrats have an edge in four of the states five congressional districts, trailing only in western Iowa’s fifth district. The Democratic registration edge is biggest in eastern Iowa’s second district.

The state’s hottest congressional race is in the 4th District, where Democrat Becky Greenwald is challenging incumbent Tom Latham. Democrats have a 9,000-voter registration advantage there.

Statewide, fewer than 1,000 voters have taken advantage of changes in state law that allow Green and Libertarian registration.