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City council likely to reorganize voting precincts

BY MATT STARNS | AUGUST 30, 2011 7:20 AM

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Iowa City officials say a new precinct map will create a more even distribution of Iowa City voters.

2010 Census data created what Johnson County Auditor Tom Slocket calls an “inequitable distribution” of voters — too many voters in some areas and too few in others.

The Iowa City City Council unanimously passed the first reading of an ordinance to redraw those lines on Monday night. City Councilors Regenia Bailey and Ross Wilburn were not present.

The new ordinance would eliminate one of Iowa City’s 25 precincts and redraw lines to more equitably distribute voters in each precinct and district. The ordinance would also eliminate polling at Roosevelt Elementary, 611 Greenwood Drive.

The new plan would not exceed the 3,500-resident limit in each precinct according to city staff.
The new precinct boundaries and council district boundaries reflect population changes shown in the 2010 Census.

City Councilor Susan Mims said the new boundaries are “… just a minor adjustment to the original ordinance we had passed.”

The Monday meeting was the first in a series of three considerations on the issue — the final consideration is set for Wednesday, prior to the Sept. 1 deadline.

Councilor Connie Champion is optimistic about the ordinance’s future. “I think they’ll move to adopt,” she said. “It has to be done.”

In addition to Monday’s ordinance, the council will consider a motion that would allow selected township residents to vote with Iowa City precincts in upcoming elections, as long as the total voting population of the precinct — including the selected township residents — does not exceed the legal limit of 3,500 and as long as the combined precinct is entirely within a single legislative district.

Township voters who choose to vote in an Iowa City precinct will not be allowed to participate in Iowa City municipal elections; they will vote on separate township ballots.

The proposed changes in voting precincts and council districts, if adopted, will become effective in January 2012 and will not affect the November election.

The University of Iowa will continue to have satellite polling stations each November, officials said.

Members of the UI community will still be able to cast their 2012 presidential vote in the Main Library and several other locations across campus.


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