Important elections are taking place all across Iowa Tuesday — but many voters will ignore them. While cheering crowds turn out across Iowa to hear the presidential candidates, you’re more likely to hear the crickets chirping at Iowa polling places Tuesday for local school board elections.
Iowa Secretary of State Michael Mauro says school board elections have some of the lowest turnouts of any election. According to Mauro, it depends on the individual school districts, as some may have heated campaigns, but he says overall only eight to ten percent of registered voters turn out for school board elections, "which is very, very, low."
Mauro says that low turnout is surprising when you look at county tax bills and see the portion that goes to schools as it’s the most substantial part of the tax dollars collected in most counties.
Local districts determine how their boards are set up. "The number of members are set by the districts, so each school district is kind of unique in how they do things," Mauro says. Each district has an election every year to elect members when terms expire.
Mauro says it’s too late now to register to vote in Tuesday’s school board election, but if you are registered, he has this advice.
"The hours the polls are open (vary) by school district, so I encourage people around the state to check with their individual school districts or check the newspaper publications to see the hours," Mauro says. "Most are open from seven in the morning ’til eight in the evening, but don’t open up until noon.".