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Large turnout diluted student vote in election

BY ARIANA WITT | NOVEMBER 18, 2010 7:20 AM

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The youngest age group of Iowa City voters made up the largest percent of voters in the Nov. 2 election, according to Johnson County Auditor Tom Slockett.

But the effect was lost due to an across the board increase in voters in all other age demographics.

"Their impact was diluted," Slockett said. "It was still a close election at about 52 to 48 [percent], but the fact that is they had less impact in relation to the rest of the voters, and that seems to be the main factor in the failure to over turn the [21-ordinance] vote."

In this year's election, the vote to overturn the 21 ordinance was upheld.

The 18- to 24-year-olds composed around 32 percent of the vote in the election, Slockett said, compared with 35 percent of the vote in the 2007 election. That year, the ordinance was voted out, with the 18- to 24-year-olds as the leading demographic.

The second largest voting demographic was the 30- to 49-year-olds, representing around 23 percent of voters.

Every Iowa City age group increased in voter turnout, Slockett said. For example, the 18-24 went up to 9,413 from 5,432 in 2007, and the 25 to 29 group increased to 2,463 from 724 in 2007.

"If you look at the predominant student precincts, those were about 80 to more than 90 percent 'yes' voters," Slockett said.

The voting results show a more polarized outcome because voters in precincts farther from the center of town favored the "no" vote by around 70 percent.

Closer to campus polls saw mostly young voters compared with those father from campus, he said.

Some students were pleased to hear about the increase in student-aged voters.

"One good thing about the 21-ordinance was that it brought more students to the polls that might not have voted," said UI senior Jenna Hackendahl.

UI junior Kristen Jogerst said she was sparked to vote in the this election by the 21-ordinance.

She said she voted about three weeks early in Macbride Hall and said she tries to vote in every "semi-big" election, but only for the things she is informed about.

"If you don't vote, you can't really complain," Jogerst said.

Hackendahl said she had friends who chose not to vote this year because they felt they didn't know enough about the issues or candidates on the Johnson County ballot.

Slockett said the numbers are not complete because there are votes that are in need of evaluation by a voter board.

The numbers will not become final until January, he said, but the current numbers are representative of the overall outcome.


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