Monday, March 15, 2021

Woodbury County discusses voting districts for supervisors

(Radio Iowa) - A recent Woodbury County case where a supervisor had to resign because he moved out of his district and then won reelection has started a discussion on the issue.

The five supervisors each have to live in their own district — but voters in all five districts vote on every supervisor. Woodbury County resident Brian Miller says it is kind of like a reverse of the Electoral College situation on the national level.

“We’ve had county supervisors that run from a district and they don’t win the vote in that district –but they are elected as a supervisor because they’ve won countywide,” Miller says. “I’ve looked at some numbers and that’s happened at least three times if you go back to 2016 through now. And again, I don’t know if that’s a bad thing — it’s an awkward thing I guess is how I look at it.”

Fifteen other Iowa counties use the same option as Woodbury County, while the rest of the state uses the two other options that are available.

County Auditor Pat Gill says there isn’t enough time to get a measure for a change in any county.  He says you need petitions equal to 10 percent or more of the people who voted in the last general election to get it on the ballot. That would be 4,570 signatures in Woodbury County.

Gill says they would have to be gathered June first and there would be a special election on the first Tuesday in August, with all three plans would be on the ballot. A bill in the legislature to require counties with populations of more than 60,000 to use a plan where supervisors are elected only from voters in their district failed to meet a deadline to be considered.

Thirty-three counties currently use that plan, while most counties elect supervisors on a majority vote of all those in the county.

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