IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Early voting has started in Iowa as Democrats seek to secure votes for President Barack Obama's re-election and build a pre-Election Day advantage over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Voters lined up as county auditor's offices opened Thursday to be among the first to have their say in the battleground state, one of the first where the election process is now in full swing.

Retired University of Iowa clerical worker Jane Ommen voted for Obama at the Johnson County Auditor's Office in Iowa City. A Democratic-leaning independent, Ommen says she voted for the president because she feels he's honest and can empathize with ordinary people.

State data shows Democrats had built a nearly 5-1 advantage in absentee ballot requests as of Wednesday, with roughly 119,000 compared to 25,000 for Republicans.

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