The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa City sees higher voter turnout in Tuesday’s city council general election

This follows an upward turnout trend for the last few local elections.
Lua Rasga
Dominique Limoli votes at the UI Psychological and Brain Sciences Building on 340 Iowa Ave. during Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. Iowa City residents voted Tuesday for city and school board elections.

Iowa City voters are increasingly turning out for local elections, according to preliminary data from Tuesday’s general election for city council and school board.

According to John Deeth, an election technician for the Johnson County Auditor’s office, there were approximately 10,000 voters from the Iowa City precincts in this year’s general election.

This number is still unofficial because the county is sorting through votes that were cast outside city limits, or ballots that were cast incorrectly and won’t be counted. 

Deeth said the numbers will be finalized in the next few weeks.

City elections are held every two years. In the past few elections, the county auditor’s office recorded total voter turnout in Iowa City: 

  • 2021: over 8,000
  • 2019: a little under 7,000 
  • 2017: over around 7,200 
  • 2015: around 6,800

School board election turnout tends to fluctuate a bit more depending on the issues being voted on, Deeth said. In 2017, for example, there was a school bond issue on the ballot which most likely contributed to the approximately 16,700 voters who voted in the school district elections, Deeth said.

That being said, school district voter turnout has also been on a general upward swing. There were almost 7,300 voters in 2015, around 10,400 voters in 2019, and over 13,200 voters in 2021.

The school district elections generally have larger turnouts than city elections because the Iowa City school district encompasses nearby cities like North Liberty and Coralville and rural areas out of city limits, whereas city elections are only for Iowa City precincts, Deeth said.

Something that has also contributed to the trend of higher voter turnout was a state law that combined city and school elections in 2019, Deeth said. 

“The universes of city election voters and school election voters, historically, were just a little bit different,” Deeth said. “Now I think people are getting used to voting in both of those, so it kind of builds on each other.”

This trend has also been reflected countywide since this change. Voter turnout in Johnson County in 2019 was a little under 13,500 and close to 17,500 in 2021. This year’s general election saw just over 19,000 voters.

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About the Contributors
Isabelle Foland
Isabelle Foland, News Editor
Isabelle Foland is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Spanish. She is a second-year news reporter at The Daily Iowan, reporting mainly on Iowa City City Council. She is from Missouri Valley, Iowa and has reported for her hometown paper prior to her time at The DI.
Lua Rasga
Lua Rasga, Photojournalist
Lua Rasga is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Cinematic Arts. She’s a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan. She comes from Sao Paulo, Brazil with previous experience in filmmaking.