DAVENPORT - Today is School Election Day for local school boards and the Eastern Iowa Community College District, and if today is typical, this election will see the lowest turnout election. That's why Scott County Auditor Roxanna Moritz is reminding voters that today is the school election, and that there is a lot at stake in these elections.
"School elections tend to have the lowest turnout of all elections," Moritz said. "In the 2009 school election only 2.86 percent of Scott County's registered voters cast ballots. This was below the 3.76 percent average for the last eight elections."
"That is really too bad, because the schools are so important to our communities and the school tax levies are more than the county or the city levies," Moritz said. In Bettendorf the school levy is about $15.00 per thousand dollars of assessed value, while the city levy is $12.60. In Davenport the school levy is about $17.05 while the city levy is $15.53. "In comparison the 2009 city elections had a countywide turnout of 9.6 percent. Some of the smaller towns saw about 50 percent turnouts,"Moritz said.
That trend toward lower turn out may not be the case in the North Scott School district. Contested races and controversy over whether to build a new elementary school in Eldridge are expected to draw voters to the polls. "My office anticipates that turn out in North Scott will be appreciably higher than in the other school districts. We have ordered significantly more ballots to cover the increase in voting," Moritz said.
Also today, voters in 30 Scott County precincts will see their election officials using electronic poll books. "Electronic poll books save money and increase the accuracy of elections," Moritz said. "With the increasing complexity of election law it is important that we give our election officials the tools they need to conduct elections. Electronic poll books take the complexity of the law and turn it into simple to answer questions. This decreases the opportunity for errors to occur and increases the security and accuracy of elections," Moritz said.
"Also the use of electronic poll books simplifies the process for maintaining voter files. During the past fiscal year my office maintained more than 123,000 files for Scott County voters. Updating these files by hand after major elections can take weeks costing more in overtime and temporary workers. Once we fully deploy electronic poll books this updating process will only take a few hours," Moritz added.
Polls are open throughout Scott County from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Local school board positions and public measures will be on the ballot, as well as candidates for the Eastern Iowa Community College District. Sample ballots are available on the Auditor's webpage at http://www.scottcountyiowa.com/auditor/.
There will be four positions up for election for the Bettendorf School Board, the Davenport School Board and the North Scott School Board. The Pleasant Valley School Board will have positions for director districts three, four, five and six on the ballot. The Bennett School District will have two positions up for election and the Calamus-Wheatland School District and the Durant School District will have three each.
Three school districts, Bettendorf, North Scott and Pleasant Valley will have ballot measures to update the revenue purpose statement for each district. Also, North Scott will have a ballot measure submitted by citizen petition to loan textbooks free of charge or rental fee to school district students beginning July 1, 2012.
The Eastern Iowa Community College District will have positions for director districts three, four, five and nine on the ballot in Scott County.
Below is a full list of candidates for the major school boards and the community college district.
Bettendorf School District (vote for no more than four)
Jeannine K. Crockett
Davenport School District (vote for no more than four)
Nikki J. DeFauw
William Lee Sherwood
North Scott School District (vote for no more than four)
John D. Maxwell
Pleasant Valley School District (vote for no more than one)
Director District 3 - Deborah K. Dayman
Director District 4 - Scott Isbell
Director District 5 - Joseph Bullock
Director District 6 - Amy Richmond
Eastern Iowa Community College (vote for no more than one)
Director District III - Joseph E. D'Souza
Director District IV - Robert H. Gallagher
Director District V - Mary Lou Engler
Director District IX - Michelle Garvin
For more information contact the Scott County Auditor's Office at 563-326-8631.