This past Tuesday, Nov. 3, Grinnell residents cast their votes in Grinnell’s municipal elections.
Four seats were up for election: Mayor, Councilman At Large and City Council Members for the second and fourth wards.
Although all candidates were incumbents running unopposed on the ballot, local organizers stressed the importance of the electorate still showing up to voice their preferences.
“Sometimes we take voting for granted, but it’s such an important right we have as citizens,” said Terese Grant, Co-President of the Grinnell League of Women Voters.
Although it’s typically difficult to get voters to turn out for elections like this, more interest was generated when a write-in Tea Party candidate named Tammy Kriegel began campaigning in the eleventh hour.
Despite garnering interest in the election, Kriegel’s write-in campaign for mayor was not successful. She received 187 votes, while the incumbent Mayor Gordon Canfield received 460.
Canfield first became mayor of Grinnell in 1999 and has served in that role for the past 16 years. He spent part of his youth in the town and graduated from the local high school. Before beginning his political career, Canfield spent 37 years with the Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company, retiring in 1997 as a Senior Vice President.
The Councilman At Large seat went back to Byron Hueftle-Worley, who attended Grinnell College for two years before graduating from the University of Iowa. Hueftle-Worley has served on the City Council since January 2000. Prior to being on the Council, he served in the U.S. Army for nine years.
Alongside Hueftle-Worley on the Council will be Jo Wray representing the second ward and Sondi Burnell representing the fourth ward.
Wray is a former Poweshiek County Auditor and Burnell is an Academic Technology Support Specialist at the College.
All City Council-elects and the mayoral-elect will serve a two-year term.
While the primary event of any municipal election is the choosing of representatives, this Tuesday was also an opportunity for the city to showcase new technology that makes the electoral process more accessible.
“We do have equipment now that is for the handicapped,” said Auditor and Commissioner of Elections for Poweshiek County Diana Dawley. “It’s a really neat thing that we can offer now.”
This technology helps to ensure that all members of the community are able to participate in elections.
“Instead of having the regular-size paper ballot we just have tape on it … and people can vote on it via touch-screen … and then that tape that they have their results on can be routed through our scanner,” Dawley explained.
Community members are not the only ones who can have a say in the governance of the City. The Auditor’s Office stressed that Grinnell students play an important role in local, state and national elections.
Voter registration forms are available at poweshiekcounty.org. Students living on campus can register using the address of their current residence hall. A physical copy of the form must be presented to the Auditor’s Office.COMMUNITY-Elections