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Large candidate field brings out voters

By B. Adam Burke
North Liberty Leader
NORTH LIBERTY– Voter turnout was near-record levels for the Iowa City Community School District board of education elections on Sept. 13. With a field of 10 candidates, five of seven seats were up for grabs, with only one incumbent running.
Current board president Patti Fields narrowly won back her seat with 1,910 votes (43 percent). Joining her on the board will be newcomers Marla Swesey (66 percent), Jeff McGuiness (64 percent) and Sally Hoelscher (51 percent) all in four-year terms, and Karla Cook, who easily won a two-year term with 3,163 votes, or 78 percent of votes.
Current board members Tuyet Dorau and Sarah Swisher will remain on the board until their terms end in 2013.
According to figures on the Johnson County Auditor’s website, 358 North Liberty voters weighed in on the Iowa City school board ballot, just 7.97 percent of the 4,492 total votes cast in that election. All numbers remain unofficial, however, until the auditor’s office conducts its official canvass of the ballots.
There were 5,451 votes cast in all of Johnson County’s school board elections last week, nearing the totals in the 2009 school board elections, when there were 5,836 votes cast overall. Prior to that, a school board election has not garnered more than 4,000 votes since 2003.
While numbers for this school board election were comparatively high, the overall percentage of registered voters remains low. There are 88,471 registered voters in Johnson County, and only 6.16 percent of them came out last week to cast ballots.