Voter turnout high in Western Dubuque special election - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Voter turnout higher than normal in Western Dubuque special election

Epworth election officials said more than 150 people had come to vote at that precinct by noon Tuesday. Epworth election officials said more than 150 people had come to vote at that precinct by noon Tuesday.

Voters came out Tuesday for three special elections throughout eastern Iowa.

Folks living within the AGWSR Community School District voted on the renewal of their 10-year physical plant and equipment levy, or PPEL.

Superintendent Bob Weber said the PPEL brings in about $400,000 per year, which in the past decade has been used for upgrades such as re-roofing district buildings, updating athletic facilities and expanding school kitchens. He said the district would plan to use money from an extension of the PPEL for various building upgrades and achieving its technology goal of connecting each student with a laptop.

In the Cedar Rapids College Community School District, voters weighed in on a $15 million dollar bond referendum meant to help build a fifth elementary school in the district.

People in the Western Dubuque Community School District voted Tuesday whether to approve both a $16.5 million dollar bond and a PPEL that would bring in approximately $7.5 million over the course of 10 years.

Superintendent Jeff Corkery said the money would fund updates in buildings and technology throughout the district, including a major security upgrade in both Cascade and Western Dubuque high schools, an auditorium for Western Dubuque High School and athletic upgrades at Cascade High School. Others schools in the district are slated for improvements, too.

Thanks to a group of parents and other volunteers strongly in favor of the Western Dubuque issues, Dubuque County auditor and elections commissioner Denise Dolan said, voter turnout was especially high for a special election.

Dolan said that's a good thing, since she and her elections officials put in the same amount of work regardless of turnout.

"No matter what the turnout is. We have to set up the same machines. Setting up a machine is setting up a machine," Dolan said. "We have to set up all the precincts. Then it's just too bad when nobody comes. It's like throwing a party and having it be a bust or something."

By 4 p.m. Tuesday, however, Dolan said 12 percent of eligible voters within the Western Dubuque School District had voted in person. Adding absentee ballots brought the number closer to 17 percent, Dolan said. Again, she said, that's high for a special election.

Polls opened Tuesday at 7 a.m. and were set to close at 8 p.m.

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