Today Iowa Sec of State Michael Mauro told us absentee ballot requests are down so far (nothing concrete really. Just anecdotal from talking with county auditors). But registered dems have requested more than three times as many absentee ballots as repubs.
Mauro is pushing for more Iowans to vote early. He predicts a crush of voters at the polls this November...perhaps, in light of heavy January caucus turnout, highly publicized presidential race, no incumbent prez/vice prez, unpopular current prez, war, bad economy, "change election" year. So Mauro wants to push early voting. He thinks absentees are already picking up quite a bit this month and will likely keep picking up. Satellite voting seems to have expanded. Wapello County Auditor Phyllis Dean told me she's setting up four satellite voting stations. She's never had any before. The Iowa Democratic Party petitioned for the satellites from her. From what I understand, you just need a petition of 100 people in a county to request a satellite voting station from an auditor (the time for this to happen has already passed).
After talking to auditors, it seems to me like the Dems/Obama campaign have asked for more of these than the Repubs/McCain. Perhaps, there's more of a targeted effort this year to go after voters, rather than a mass effort to blanket absentee potentials. At least that's what it feels like to me.