Small towns in Wapello County fill public offices with write-ins and drawings

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 7:23 PM CST
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - Tuesday, the Wapello County Deputy Auditor canvassed last week’s election. It will bring major changes not only in Ottumwa’s City leadership but also towns all across Wapello County. Including some of the smallest towns in the county, like Kirkville and Blakesburg.

Kirkville didn’t even have a candidate for Mayor on the ballot - leaving voters one choice: a write-in. As a result, 19 Kirkville voters put down the name Terry Robinson, who will become Mayor in January.

But current Mayor of Kirkville, Kris Kelderman, says write-ins aren’t out of the ordinary in Kirkville. “[Residents of Kirkville] discussed who would be willing to do it, and they asked them and that was actually posted [publicly] that those were the people you could write in.”

She says there have been a handful of Kirkville residents willing to step in when no one runs for Mayor, to avoid the town becoming unincorporated.

Blakesburg’s ballot saw a similar situation with the Blakesburg City Council, where three seats needed to be filled with no candidates running. In this case, write-ins were rare, with only three candidates receiving three votes each.

In a tie like this, the Wapello County Board of Supervisors decide the winner by literally pulling names out of a hat. However, the Wapello County Auditor tells KYOU if the first name drawn doesn’t accept, they’ll draw again, but they won’t draw a third time. Instead, they’ll look to the city council to appoint people to the seats.

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