Iowa City City Council selects precinct plan prioritizing future population growth

After hearing public input, the Iowa City City Council unanimously passed city precinct Plan A, which considers population growth for the next ten years, on Tuesday.


Johnson County Auditor's Office

This map shows the proposed reprecincting for Plan A with Iowa City City Council voting districts.

Emily Delgado, News Reporter

Some Iowa City residents may vote in a different precinct for the next 10 years after the Iowa City City Council’s decision to choose precinct Plan A, which takes into consideration future population growth. 

City Councilor Janice Weiner said in addition to future population growth, she is keeping in mind any future attempts by the Iowa Legislature to make voting difficult when making her decision. 

“The thing that occurs to me is they could decide to get rid of satellite voting. We have often used satellite voting, in particular, to help get the students to vote. So the fact that Plan A makes it as simple as possible for them to figure out where they’re going to vote makes a difference to me,” Weiner said. 

Weiner is running as a Democrat for the Iowa Senate in District 45 in 2022.

Plan A does not split the University of Iowa into two precincts. 

At a Dec. 7 City Council special work session, the council concluded Plans A and C would be the best fit for the city. After deliberation, councilors saw that Plan A takes into consideration future population growth. Future population growth is a main concern for the council, and Plan A does the best at addressing that, they said. 

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, Iowa City’s estimated resident population net change was 10.5 percent from April 1, 2010, to July 1, 2019.   

Since last week’s meeting, the Johnson County Auditor’s staff found an error in Briarwood Health Care Center bisecting a precinct boundary in Plan A. This error was fixed and the corrections were included in a late handout to the City Council. 

Three precincts in Plan A in the outer areas of the city will be polling in the same places come election time. It is not clear how the change will impact the South District of Iowa City. 

“They will all be polling in the same place,” Iowa City City Attorney Eric Goers said. 

Karen Kubby, a former councilor, president of Kubby Gyrls, Inc., and co-owner of Beadology Iowa, spoke during public comment and said the best precinct plan for the city would be the one that factors in future growth.

“Whichever map gives us the most flexibility for growth not only on the outskirts but growth in the center of town for increased density to make sure there’s room for all different kinds of growth,” Kubby said. 

At a City Council special work session on Tuesday, Iowa City Councilor Laura Bergus said she believed Plan A was the right choice. 

“I think Map A is the one we should go with, particularly relating to the ability for areas to have growth in the future,” she said. 

An agreement with the Johnson County Auditor’s Office for Plan A will be needed before the city submits its new precinct plan to the Iowa Secretary of State by Jan. 3.

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