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More Campaigns Doesn't Mean More Voters
CEDAR RAPIDS (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Corridor families have the chance right now to vote in their local school board elections, with an opportunity to decide on levees that will affect property taxes, and choose board members who will dictate your child's future.
And yet, average voter turnout for school board elections in Linn County is only 5 percent.
Auditor Joel Miller has seen a lot of those low turnout elections come and go, and says, for people to get involved at the polls, they need to get involved in the race.
"Do they want higher standards? What standards do they want? And we need to have that discussion, because that's supposed to be our most important commodity, is our kids," Miller said.
The low voter turnout might be related to how few names are on the ballot, Miller said. Most of the races in Linn County are uncontested.
"I think one things leads to another and I'm always troubled by how much -- or how little -- interested there is," Miller said.
In Iowa City, the school board meetings frequently get heated with involved parents, and there are nine people running for three open school board seats. Despite that, only about 4,500 people voted in the last several elections.
Jason T. Lewis has been running a pretty visible campaign, but says, it seems that only the people at the school board meetings are the ones voting.
"I think there's an education gap between voters and what they're really voting on, as well, and I think that causes people to sit at home and say, 'Well, I just don't know, so, I'd like to be wrong on that," Lewis said.
The low turnout also means that the races are that much closer. Candidate Phil Hemingway also ran in the last Iowa City Community School District board election, and lost by just 80 votes.
"Who's counting? I sure did. It is kind of hard when you don't even have half of the parents of our students show up for the election. You'd like to think that at least the parents would vote. But it affects everyone," Hemingway said.
Early voting has already begun in Linn and Johnson counties.
You can find more information at linncounty.org and johnson-county.com.