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Election today draws little interest

BY KACIE KROMINGA | JANUARY 19, 2010 7:30 AM

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Johnson County residents will go to the polls to elect a new supervisor today, almost five months after the death of Larry Meyers left the seat vacant.

And despite historically low turnout in special elections, the three candidates running — Lori Cardella, Jim Knapp, and Janelle Rettig — said they’re hoping for a great turnout.

All three have spent decades in Johnson County, but their goals as supervisor differ.

Rettig said one of her main concerns is with environmental issues, and the supervisors have a big say in those policies. But the one thing she said voters should recognize is her ability to retain information.

“I have an interest in and ability to grasp policies, and I’m capable of studying the issues,” she said. “I can digest an enormous amount of information, and I believe that is very important for this job.”

In comparison, Knapp said his reason for running is that he wants a fair representation for the people of Johnson County — which he called a great place to live.

“I felt that not everyone in the county was represented,” he said. “Even I did not believe the county represented all the people of Johnson County.”

Cardella also wants to be a voice for the people, but she focused on educating residents so they can make their voices heard.

“I have a true desire to represent the will of the people,” she said. “I am not a product of the political system, and I want to promote independence.”

One thing that Cardella said she wants to stress to voters is their right to vote.

“Don’t ever take it for granted,” she said.

But many UI students the Daily Iowan interviewed are unaware of the election, and several said they weren’t going to vote.

UI junior Matt Stange who has lived in Iowa City for the past six years, said he wasn’t going to vote simply because he didn’t know about it.

Elyse Kafkes, also a UI junior originally from Chicago, said she didn’t want to be an uneducated voter.

“If it’s not an educated vote, I don’t plan on voting,” she said.

UI sophomore Stephanie Malley agreed.

“I haven’t seen any signs or anything,” she said. “If I were to vote, I would have to be an informed voter.”

But UI junior Logan Lumley said he might vote — now that he knows there is an election.

“If I figure out what it’s for or look for some background on the candidates, I might,” he said.

According to the Johnson County Auditor Web site, the special election for supervisor in April 1994 drew only 7,393 voters, or 12.5 percent, of the 59,084 registered voters.

Johnson County Auditor Tom Slockett estimated the cost of the election to be around $75,000. A statutory committee had appointed Rettig to fill Meyers’ spot until the next scheduled election, but Cardella collected enough signatures to petition for today’s special election.

Cardella has reported to have raised $5,751 in cash donations while collecting $9,863 of in-kind contributions. Rettig had $17,554 in cash donations, with less than $50 of in-kind contributions. Knapp had not filed a fundraising report as of Monday evening.

Voting is today from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Voters can check where they can vote or if they need to register to vote online at www.jcauditor.com.


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