Along with county, state and federal offices to be voted on Nov. 7, there will be township offices to vote on. There will also be a referendum that could possibly eliminate township elections in the future.
Public measure C reads:
Shall the following public measure be adopted?
"Shall the County Board of Supervisors fill the offices of Trustee and Clerk within a Township by appointment?"
Cherokee County is one among many Iowa counties that will be voting on whether to fill township offices by appointment. There are 16 townships in the county with three trustees on each township board and a township clerk in each township.
At one time, a township candidate had to declare a party, get signatures on a petition to be on the primary ballot and then win a primary race to be on the general election ballot.
Because of a lack of interest, the process was streamlined somewhat in Iowa and people could file a petition to be on the general election ballot without declaring a party. Still, it has been difficult to get people to go through the election process, even after it was streamlined.
Often, a vacancy is filled by a write-in vote. Sometimes, there is not a single write-in vote cast and at other times, the write-in winner does not accept the office. In those cases, the board of supervisors appoints someone to the office.
A township office is a low profile and unpaid position but the office still needs to be filled.
The township board makes budgetary decisions regarding fire safety and cemetery matters. It also resolves fencing disputes within the township.
In the absence of partisan issues and people clamoring for the privilege of serving in township offices, it makes sense to have these positions filled by appointment.