On the local front, today's Iowa General Election features four contested races and a vote on the 911 Emergency phone service surcharge (see accompanying story.) Voters will, of course, cast ballots for U.S. President and Vice President.
There's also the new Iowa U.S. House District 1 seat to decide and voting for Soil and Water District commissioners and the County Extension Council.
Tama County had a total of 3,452 registered Republicans, 3,314 Democrats and 4,341 no-party voters as of mid-afternoon Tuesday, a week before election day, according to Elections Administrator Karen Rohrs in the office of Laura Kopsa, Auditor and Elections Commissioner.
There had been a total of 2,769 request for absentee ballots and 2,148 had been returned to the office by Tuesday, Rohrs said.
Absentee or early voting may be done until 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5 at the auditor's office in the Tama County Administration Building, 104 W. State, Toledo.
To return ballots by mail they must be postmarked by Monday, Nov. 5, and received by the Auditor's Office by Nov. 12.
In a closely-watched Iowa Senate race, one of a few which could decide which party controls the Senate side, Jane Jech (R-Marshalltown) is challenging Senator Steve Sodders (D-State Center) for the new 36th Senate District seat.
It includes all of Tama and Marshall counties and a small portion of southern Black Hawk County including LaPorte City.
For the new Iowa House District 72 post, Dean Fisher (R-rural Garwin) and Nathan Wrage (D-Gladbrook) are vying for the open seat. Lance Horbach (R-Tama) represented most of Tama County in the Iowa House while Betty DeBoef (R-What Cheer) was the House member representing the southern tier of townships. Both are retiring from the House at the end of the year.
District 72 is composed of all of Tama County, primarily the southern and western portions of Marshall County and also a small part of southern Black Hawk County including LaPorte City.
In courthouse races, Tama County Sheriff Dennis Kucera (R-Traer) is being challenged by Deputy Sheriff Brian Ellenbecker and Dan Anderson (D-rural Tama), Luke Squiers (R-rural Tama) and John Anderson (write-in-Tama) are seeking the 3rd District Supervisor post. Incumbent 3rd District Supervisor Dan Wilkens (D-rural Montour) is not seeking reelection.
Incumbents Auditor Laura Kopsa (D-Tama) and 2nd District Supervisor Kendall Jordan (D-Toledo) are unopposed for reelection.
In a continuation of an effort launched two years ago, a group of activists also is seeking to oust an Iowa Supreme Court Justice. Justice?David Wiggins is the object of a caspaign to deny his retention on the Court.
The opposition stems for his vote along with the rest of the court in 2009 to make a ruling which, in effect, made gay marriage legal in Iowa.
In a 2010 retention vote, three justices were voted out off the ocurt.
A total of four Supreme Court justices, three on the Court of Appeals, five District Court judges and two Associate judges are all on the ballot for retention.
County voters to decide on 911 surcharge hike
"I hope you look at it as a taxpayer and realize anytime you dial 911, it's been a dollar a month, for 24 hours a day, 52 weeks a year (coverage)," Ryan Currens Tama County E911 and Emergency Management coordinator said on Monday, Oct. 29. Tama County telephone users have not had an increase in their 911 support surcharge of the one dollar per month since the system was developed in the early 1990s, he said. That could change with a proposed temporary increase to $2 monthly if Tama County voters approve. The measures is on the ballot in the Nov. 6 Iowa General Election. The increase would be collected only up to 24 months, if approved. The charge then returns to one dollar monthly. A simple majority vote is required for passage. In making the case for the jump to $2 monthly, Currens said Tama County has been faced with the federally-mandated change to narrow banding which has cost $113,000, so far. He said more improvements will be needed in the next couple of years, as well. A total of 12 fire departments, six city-operated ambulance services and two city first responder units rely upon the system along with the sheriff's office and four police departments. The county currently collects about $80,000 annually from the fee, Currens said. However the ongoing change to cellular telephones and the abandonment of landlines has placed the amount tending downward. Currens said the State of Iowa collects the 911 fee for cellular phones and Tama County E911 receives 32-36 cents support per a month from their usage.