3 percent turnout backs school tax referenda

Auditor acknowledges too few polling places

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A fraction of Scott County’s registered voters backed two school tax referenda in a Tuesday election that lacked enough polling places.

North Scott schools got authorization from a 3.4 percent turnout to continue using sales tax revenue for building projects.

A 1.6 percent turnout backed Eastern Iowa Community College’s plan to borrow up to $40 million by extending a property tax levy set to expire this year.

On Election Day, Scott County Auditor Roxanna Moritz said she had overlooked a Feb. 8 email from the Secretary of State alerting her to a new requirement requiring at least 65 percent of precincts open.

Tuesday’s election had 12 vote centers to reach all county voters for the EICC referendum, and local, sales tax referendum voters in all Scott County districts but Davenport.

“From past experience we knew these would be low turnout elections and we decided to use vote centers as a cost saving measure.” Moritz said in a statement released Election Day. “My office has used vote centers in the past as a cost savings measure, especially for school elections which are often low turnout elections.”

“Unfortunately neither I nor my staff reviewed the email and did not learn about its importance until discussing another matter with the Secretary’s Legal Counsel. We discussed the matter with her and she agreed that it was too late to make any changes in the election,” Moritz said.

The North Scott referendum is one the state legislature required of all districts wanting to continue using sales tax revenue.

EICC’s referendum extends a property tax levied to repay a 2007 loan for completed projects at all campuses, and creating the downtown Davenport campus. This year, voters authorized the EICC board to borrow up to another $40 million for projects at all campuses, and to add new vocational buildings in Clinton and Muscatine counties.

North Scott

YES                  377                  88.29%

NO                  50                  11.71%

Turnout                  3.36%

EICC

YES                  1,760                  87%

NO                  263                  13%

Turnout                  1.56%

Bettendorf

YES                  471                  83.66%

NO                  92                  16.34%

Turnout                  3.06%

Pleasant Valley

YES                  585                  94.05%

NO                  37                  5.95%

Turnout                  3.09%

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