Huffpost Politics

Satellite Voting: Only in Iowa

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SATELLITE VOTING IOWA
Polk County, Iowa, Deputy Auditor Steve Mauro, left, shows a voter where to place her completed ballot on the first day of early voting for the November election. Satellite voting in Iowa starts next month. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) | AP

DES MOINES, Iowa –- Jesus said that wherever two or more were gathered, he would be among them.

The state of Iowa says that in whatever place 100 or more have signed their names to a piece of paper, they can set up an early voting location where they choose for a day, or longer.

It's called satellite voting, and Iowa is, according to the Associated Press, the only state that does it.

It is something of a free for all.

Early voting in Iowa takes place in each county at the auditor's office. But satellite locations supplement that.

Many satellite locations are open just for a day. But in Polk County, the auditor's office has enough staff to operate satellites for much longer. Starting on Oct. 8, they'll have 11 sites operating for three weeks. In all, Polk County, which contains the state capital and is the largest county in the state, will have about two dozen satellite locations.

This gets more interesting when each campaign organizes events designed to attract large numbers of supporters, so they can send them to satellite locations.

On Friday, first lady Michelle Obama will hold a rally at the University of Northern Iowa, in Cedar Falls. She'll speak to supporters inside the 6,650-seat McLeod Center.

And in a nearby building, there will be a satellite voting location, open from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m., which the Democrats petitioned to have placed there for the very same day. Attendees of the first lady's rally will likely be encouraged to visit that building if they have not already voted.

There were discussions about Republicans holding a series of country music concerts coordinated with satellite voting locations, to reap similarly large numbers of votes. But those talks fell apart.

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