Blank ballot voting: Mayor wins seven times without running - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Blank ballot voting: Mayor wins seven times without running

BALLTOWN (KWWL) -- In the Tri-States, there were several uncontested races for mayor. In Dubuque County, there were 19 mayoral races. Only one had more than one, if any, candidate.  That was in Peosta.  13 towns had current mayors running unopposed for reelection.

The race for Dubuque mayor had only one candidate:  the incumbent Roy Buol. Five Dubuque County towns had open mayor seats with no candidates.

In Balltown, that's how it is nearly every year for both mayor and council positions, but the people of Balltown have never been without a mayor or council.

In Balltown, three election officials waited for the just more than 40 registered voters to show up in the voting window between noon and 8:00 p.m.

Every two years, they cast their votes for five city council seats and the mayor. This year, like most, it's voting on a ballot with no names.

"Balltown ballots have been blank most of the time since I've lived in Balltown," Election Official Jean Sigwarth said.

The current mayor, Herb Sigwarth, had been elected seven times as of election morning 2009.

"I've been in office since the 1st of January of '96, elected in 95," Herbert Sigwarth said.

Here's the catch: He's never actually run.

"People tend to serve if they're elected. No one is out there trying to win office," Herbert Sigwarth said.

In fact, Sigwarth wasn't really expecting his first election.  He'd been on city council since moving to town in 1967.

"The current mayor at that time decided that he did not want to take office again. So he asked the voters not to vote for him, and I ended up getting the most votes for mayor that year," Herbert Sigwarth said.

People in Balltown say it works well for their close-knit community

"Nobody's out there trying to win this election because it's not a very high paying job," Herbert Sigwarth joked.

In roughly 25 years, only one person has ever sent in candidate registration papers in Balltown. He ran for city council and won.

Herbert Sigwarth voted, but declined to say if he'd written his own name down for mayor.  No word yet on whether he's "won" an 8th two-year term as Balltown mayor.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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