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)

Barry Anderson

Ray Cassady

Paul Castro

Jeannine K. Crockett

Davenport School District (vote for no more than four)

Tyla Cole

Nikki J. DeFauw

Ralph Johanson

Ken Krumwiede

William Lee Sherwood

North Scott School District (vote for no more than four)

Dennis Albertson

Paul Dierickx

Joni Dittmer

Dennis Kirby

Barbara Kuhl

Tim Lane

Krista Long

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.

Roxanna Moritz, Scott County (Iowa) Auditor and Commissioner of Elections, will be designated as a Certified Elections/Registration Administrator (CERA), the highest professional achievement, in ceremonies conducted by the Election Center at the Westin on the Riverwalk Hotel, San Antonio, TX, at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, August 19, 2011.

CERA designation is achieved only through a multi-year course of study conducted by The Election Center's Professional Education Program and completion of twelve core courses taught by the Master's in Public Administration faculty of Auburn University (Auburn, Alabama) ranging from ethics, to voter registration and elections law, planning, communications, and voter participation, among others.  The intent of the program is to professionalize the management of voter registration and elections administration in promoting and preserving public trust in the democratic process.

"This is the highest designation available to elections and voter registration officials," said R. Doug Lewis, director of the Center.  "Of more than 21,000 elections and voter registration officials throughout America, this graduating class of 88 professionals takes us to 677 election officials who have achieved the CERA status.  This is an outstanding accomplishment."

"Scott County is indeed fortunate to have Roxanna as one of the top designated professionals in America.  Obtaining and maintaining CERA status means that she has committed to a career long process of continuing education to improve the electoral process in Iowa and the nation," he stated.

"These truly are the people who make democracy possible," Lewis said.  "Auditor Moritz and other CERA professionals serve as the nation's protectors of the democratic process.  Because of them, Americans have a trust and public confidence in the election process.  They have assurance that the system is fair, free, honest and accurate.  In many parts of the world, their citizens have no faith in the form of democracy offered in their home countries. The importance of what Roxanna does for Scott County is incredible but rarely noticed...unless something goes wrong."

Moritz was first elected county auditor in 2008.  She served a partial four year term on the Scott County Board of Supervisors before being elected auditor.  She also served for six years on the Davenport City Council as First Ward Alderman.

"This is one of the most challenging education programs I have ever participated in, Moritz said. "We covered the law, and ethical considerations in how to better serve the public.  We also became more aware of how important it is to nurture and care for the democratic process."

"Rich or poor, weak or strong, young or old, we all count the same when we vote," said Moritz.  "What can be more equal than that?  The CERA program elevates our thinking about the process and the people we serve."

"It is my great honor to assure that the public's will is accurately reflected in our elections," Moritz said.  "I see my role to dignify all potential voters and to remove as many barriers as possible to participation in the democratic process.  Our office cannot be responsible for how many actually turn out for each election, but we can certainly be sure that they have the opportunity to vote and have their votes counted accurately."

The Professional Education Program is sponsored by The Election Center, a non-profit association of voter registrars and elections administrators throughout America.  Its membership is comprised of township, city, county and state elections officials.  The Center's primary purpose is education for local and state voter registrars and elections officials to promote and improve the democratic process.

Professional Education Program participants receive continuing education credit from Auburn University as well as professional training credits from The Election Center.

The Professional Education Program was recognized in 1996 as the top continuing education program in America by the National University Continuing Education Association.

"Normally most Americans don't even know the election officials exist in their community and that they work constantly to protect the democratic process for its citizens," Lewis said. "Due to Election 2000, we now know just how important and complicated elections can be. In my opinion, the elections officials deserve the highest recognition that a community can give.  If they don't do their job well, then citizens have no faith in the democratic process itself.  Without faith in the process, it is almost impossible to believe in government itself - and that is a very large responsibility."