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Newscast 11.07.2023: Voting underway with no problems in Woodbury County; Northwest Iowa voters will see lots of school bond measures

Today is Election Day in Northwest Iowa.

Woodbury County’s chief election official reported voting has been steady today and without technological problems, as the 2023 election cycle comes to a close in Iowa.

On this Election Day, polling places are open until 8 p.m., as Iowans are determining who will fill positions of city mayors, city council members, and public school board members.

As of this morning, 1,640 people had returned early voting ballots in Woodbury County, which is less than the 1,848 county residents who had requested an early ballot, according to Woodbury County Deputy of Elections Steve Hofmeyer. Those early absentee ballots have to be received in all Iowa county auditor offices by today in order to be counted.

Hofmeyer on Tuesday afternoon said there have been no technological glitches at any of the polling places. There had been more than 2,100 votes by 11 a.m., and voters numbers have been fairly steady since then.

In 2021, Iowa shortened the window for early voting to 20 days, from 29. It also required registered voters to request absentee ballots at least 15 days before an election.

Hofmeyer and other county auditors are encouraging people to vote, and some auditors are expecting voter turnout in the vicinity of 15 percent. Who fills the city and school positions is very important, as the people selected make crucial decisions that impact the functioning of schools and city governments.

All 30 existing polling places in Woodbury County are open, with 16 of those located in Sioux City and the other 14 out in other county communities. Other counties in Northwest Iowa will also have multiple polling places for people.

In Sioux City, two city government positions are being contested, with Mayor Bob Scott running unopposed on the ballot, while incumbent Julie Schoenherr and Tom Murphy are vying for one seat on the Sioux City Council.

Additionally, 11 candidates are running for five positions on the Sioux City School Board. Only two incumbent board members are running for re-election, so there could be a big turnover on the Sioux City School Board.

There are many school bond issue measures of more than $10 million dollars devoted to school facilities plans throughout Northwest Iowa, including at Lawton-Bronson, Westwood, and Hinton near Sioux City. Hofmeyer said he thought the bond issue measures have spurred voting.

Other school bond issues are facing voters living in the Northwest Iowa school districts of West Sioux, Rock Valley, Boyden-Hull, and West Lyon, Harris-Lake Park, Schaller-Crestland, and IKM-Manning.

Ida County voters will decide whether to create an EMS fund paid from property taxes, a funding mechanism that other counties in Iowa have created.

Additionally, Sioux City Council members in their Monday meeting voted 4-0 to approve a resolution opposing the construction and operation of hazardous CO2 pipelines in or near the city.

City documents show that current plans show a proposed pipeline within Woodbury County and within two miles of the city limits of Sioux City. Research shows various possible negative outcomes should the pipeline be allowed, including health and safety issues, adverse effects on property values, and loss of future development opportunities for the properties.

The resolution the council approved identified the two pipelines as Summit Carbon Solutions and Navigator Heartland Greenway.

As part of our continuing  Siouxland Public Media News election coverage, we will have results this evening, including on our website.