Near record-low voter turnout for Iowa City special election

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) -- Iowa City now has a new city councilman seat filled. Compared to people who participated in the process, it came at a steep price.

The Johnson County Auditor's Office reports only about nine percent of voters actually cast ballots for Tuesday's election. That's nearly a record-low for the city, with about 4,000 participants.

"Realistically, you always want to see a hundred percent but we're you're spending the kind of money, $25,000, to put on one of these elections you hope to see 20, 30, 40 percent; which unfortunately we didn't," said Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert.

That means each vote cost taxpayers about six dollars. Weipert said they didn't have a choice since city council voted to have the election.

"The voters in Iowa City voted in June, voted in September, they voted in October and now they're going to vote again in November," said Weipert. "You could see how they could've gotten burned out by going to the polls."

Bruce Teague won the at-large city council seat Tuesday night with 54 percent of the vote. While Teague said he's ready to start tackling issues like transportation and affordable housing, he supports spending about $50,000 on the primary and special election that led to his position on the city council.

"I think Iowa City did the right thing by not appointing and letting people choose," said Teague.

Teague said he's looking forward to representing Iowa City as an at-large council member but he's well aware that not many people voted for him.

"I'm very excited that I was able to get enough votes," said Teague.

The county auditor said if the city had appointed someone to the seat instead of holding a special election, people were planning to petition to force an election.