Early in July, the County received a petition, presented by a group of citizens requesting a special vote on revising the plans for how districts within the county are represented and representatives are elected. With the required 500 signatures on the petition, a special election was coordinated and will be held Tuesday, August 6th, 2019 to decide if a new plan for electing County Supervisors will be adopted.
Currently, the County Supervisors are elected to serve through voting held during primary and general elections. Votes to elect each Supervisor are submitted by three independent districts within the county. Supervisor representatives must live within the district they represent. Currently, Dean Robins represents District I. Larry Keller represents District II. And Marvin McCann represents District III.
The vote being held next Tuesday will potentially change how representation is made as well as who decides on each district’s representation. The sample ballot provided by the Clarke County Auditor outlines the following options:
Plan “one” - At large and without district residence requirements for the members.
This plan would remove the district representation and put the County Supervisor vote up to be determined by the county as a whole. Representatives would not be required to live in nor be nominated by a particular district.
Plan “two” - At large but with equal-population district residence requirements for the members.
This plan would maintain the district structure but remove the requirement for representatives to live in the district which they represent. The vote would be made by the entire county for the representation nominated within each district.
Plan “three” - From a single-member equal-population districts in which the elections of each district shall elect one member who must reside in that district.
This plan requires each district to elect a representative independently and each elected official must reside and represent the district that voted for them. Currently, Plan “three” is how Clarke County Supervisors are elected.
As it stands, the biggest concern for each of the plans is maintaining balanced representation for citizens in each of the county’s districts. Plans “one” and “two” remove the strict district residence and representation requirements and leave voting up to a county vote “At Large.” While this possibly could open representation options up to a wider pool of nominees, it also increases the chances of unbalanced representation.
Ultimately the voting on August 6th will make the decision as to how County Supervisors are elected and how each of the districts is represented. According to Janice White, Clarke County Auditor, the last county-wide election of this sort was held in 2007 and garnered a 35.49 percent turnout. With numerous notices posted in the newspaper, shared online, and through county correspondence, turnout expectations for this vote are high.
The election will be tallied for a plurality result, meaning the plan on the ballot with the most votes will be adopted and, if necessary, elections will be planned and county representation will be restructured.
Election Day polls will be open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. on August 6, 2019.
If you have additional questions or need to find your polling location, contact the Clarke County Auditor’s office at 100 South Main, Osceola, Iowa 50213, email Janice White, Clarke County Auditor at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (641) 342-3315.