State says redistricting won’t cause ballot issue in Lee County

Pflug and Seyb don’t live in same district so no election needed

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

LEE COUNTY – County officials and supervisors thought about scrambling to get another two elections on the primary ballot this spring, but a deeper dive shows that is not the case.

Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise informed both District 5 Supervisor Matt Pflug, a Democrat from Keokuk, and District 4 Supervisor Garry Seyb, Jr., a Republican from Jackson Township, Monday night that they may need to start collecting signatures two years early due to redistricting.

Fraise said election staff with the county looked at a four-block shift from District 4 to District 5 and thought the affect on the voter block in Keokuk would force an new election in the two districts.

But Molly Widen, legal counsel for Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate told Pen City Current Tuesday afternoon that it was her opinion, based on information received from Fraise and Pflug, that the move wasn’t necessary.

“My assessment is based solely on those statements. I haven’t received the addresses of the supervisors and I haven’t plotted them,” Widen said.

“But based on the information from the auditor and the supervisor that was given to me, there is no supervisors now living in the same district to force that election. The redistricting didn’t take in a census block that would include both supervisors’ residences.”

Widen said the only way that would have forced an election was if any of the district changes would have resulted in two incumbent supervisors living in the same district.

“Then that district goes back into the cycle,” she said.

Iowa Code governing the redistricting is at 331.209 and 331.210. The Legislative Services Agency reset the districts and made the announcements late as dates.

Fraise confirmed Tuesday afternoon, that she has plotted the residence and there is no need for the election that officials thought might be needed Monday night.

As it stands now, Districts 2 and 3 are the only supervisor seats up for election this year. Those seats are currently held by Rick Larkin – District 2, and Rich Harlow – District 3. Both Harlow and Larkin have announced they are retiring from the board at the end of this year.

Only Peter Seyb has announced that he wanted to seek the District 3 spot, but redistricting moved his residence into District 4, and he won’t challenge his brother Garry in the Republican primary for that seat.

Donna Amandus (D-Fort Madison) and Tom Schulz (R-Fort Madison), both current Fort Madison City Council members, both have announced their candidacies for the District 2 spot.

Candidates have until March 25 to turn in signatures and candidacy affidavits to the County Auditor’s office.

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