Voting Underway in 21-only Iowa City Bar Debate

By Mark Carlson, Reporter

Bar patrons wait in line in front of Joe's Place Friday, September 29, 2006 along Iowa Avenue in downtown Iowa City. (BRIAN RAY/THE GAZETTE)

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By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Early voting is underway in Johnson County ahead of the November election. In Iowa City voters will have the option of overturning a city ordinance that bans people under the age of 21 from downtown bars after 10 p.m.

"Certainly that's an [election] of interest," said Johnson County auditor Travis Weipert.

On Tuesday Iowa City mayor Matt Hayek expressed concerns about the upcoming election. Hayek and the city back the current law, which went into place several years ago.

"If people don't turn out to vote, things will go back to the way they used to be in Iowa City," Hayek said. "Right now I think we have a more vibrant downtown."

A group with hopes of repealing the law was able to gather enough verified signatures to force the city to include the issue on the upcoming ballot.

If overturned, 19 and 20-year-olds would be allowed back in downtown bars until closing.

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