Tuesday, September 29, 2009

City Primary Slow

No Waves of Student Voters Seen

It doesn't seem like it, but we're only a week away from the October 6 Iowa City primary, the first round of Iowa City's town vs. gown election.

Chances are strong--no, make that certain--that the final on November 3 will feature two townies, Susan Mims and Terry Dickens, vs. two of the three student candidates: Dan Tallon, Jeff Shipley, or Jared Bazzell.

So how are the students doing at getting their base registered and voted?

Friday was the traditional voter registration deadline for the October 6 city primary. (People can still register when they vote, with ID and proof of address.) Since the school board election, Iowa City registration of voters aged 18 to 24 has actually dropped by 102 people, to 16,577.

That's normal attrition of the voter files as people move away, but in a big election that trend gets buried under waves of new registrations. At the time of the 2007 city election, with that big ole 21 bar vote on the ballot and the caucuses looming, 18-24 registration spiked by 4,500 voters.

Granted, registration is already high since we're only a year past the record turnout presidential election, but seeing an actual decline is a bad sign for the student candidates. And just anecdotally, there haven't been mass waves of address changes either.

Maybe things will turn around before the November 3 election, but so far the signs aren't there.

Meanwhile, letters to the editor for Dickens and Mims are trickling in. No outrageous anti-student rhetoric seen, but nearly all include the code phrases "long-time/lifelong resident" and "not a single issue candidate."

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