Officials hope election changes will increase voter turnout

Local News

While 7 percent may seem like a shockingly low number of people deciding the future of city government. The Auditor's office said this kind of voter turnout is actually pretty common in Woodbury County.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – On Tuesday Sioux City voters decided the top two City Council candidates who are heading to the general election next month. But only 7 percent of voters actually made it out to the polls for this city primary.

While 7 percent may seem like a shockingly low number of people deciding the future of city government, the Auditor’s office said this kind of voter turnout is actually pretty common in Woodbury County.

“If you leave the choices up to everyone else you may not come up with what you want to so there is a battle going on out there and I do believe it’s very important to vote,” said Val Clover, a Siouxlander.

Most people say it’s important to vote, but when it comes around to election day, especially during the primaries, only a small percentage of registered voters actually show up.

“Well I think we can do better than 7 percent,” said Pate.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate said lawmakers are working to encourage more people to vote by making the process easier for everyone.

“For those folks that thought they missed the school election in September, you didn’t miss it. We have shifted and we have merged the City Election with the School Board Elections so we will be voting for both of those November 5th,” said Pate.

Officials hope more people will head to the polls when there are more positions to vote for.

Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill said he and other auditors are encouraging state lawmakers to create new avenues for voters to cast their ballot during elections.

“Look at vote by mail and try to educate the legislators as to why that would be a good process but ultimately it’s up to the legislators to decide how elections are administered in the state of Iowa,” said Gill.

Gill expects about 20 percent voter turnout for the city elections on November 5th. Right now he doesn’t have a marketing budget for raising voter awareness about the election. He said the city relies on candidates running for office to get the word out about heading to the polls.

“There are things going on that should be cared about and if you don’t put your two bits in you get what you pay for I guess,” said Clover.

This November 5th people in Sioux City have three ways to vote. You can cast an absentee ballot. Head to your designated polling place on election day, or vote early at the auditor’s office.

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