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Method for Electing Lee County Supervisors to Change?

Lee County residents have plenty of work to do if they want to change how the members of the Board of Supervisors are elected every four years.

The idea came to the forefront this month after being tossed around in passing for several years.

Vice Chairman Matt Pflug said there is no reason why a resident of Keokuk or a resident of Donnellson should not be able to vote for every single county supervisor.

He said it comes down to being accountable to every Lee County resident.

"We (have) got to get back to that. You (would) know that people up in West Point can still vote you up or down, (and) that is how it should be. If you don't like what I am doing, or (if) you like what I am doing, you should be able to vote yes or no. That is democracy at its best."

Pflug told a crowd of 300 during a recent board meeting that he would push a proposal that would require all county supervisors to run at-large, to which the crowd applauded loudly.

Such a change, though, is not an overnight process.

State code says residents can call for a special election via petition before June 1, 2015. The petition would need enough signatures to equal 10% of the votes cast for either U.S. President or Iowa Governor, depending on the most recent general election.

Lee County residents would have three options if the petition results in a special election

  1. No districts and each supervisor runs at-large.
  2. Five districts and each supervisor runs at-large.
  3. Five districts and each supervisor is elected by voters in their district.

Lee County currently utilizes option #3, but Pflug supports option #2.
"I am going to promote that," Pflug said.  "We have to get back (to that)."

Lee County last changed how the Board of Supervisors is filled in 2003.

Voters agreed to expand the board from three to five members and to implement the district structure.  The changes took effect in January 2005.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.