Petition organizers want to change how Pottawattamie County’s Board of Supervisors is elected

A petition would call for a vote on changing how Pottawattamie County's Board of Supervisors is...
A petition would call for a vote on changing how Pottawattamie County's Board of Supervisors is elected
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 1:15 PM CDT
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - A petition gathered thousands of signatures and aims to change the way the Board of Supervisors is elected in Pottawattamie County.

The Western Iowa Labor Federation and the Concerned Citizens of Pottawattamie County Coalition submitted a petition Wednesday. The petition would trigger a vote for Pottawattamie County residents to decide on a new way to elect the County Board of Supervisors.

In Iowa, there are three ways to elect the Board of Supervisors:

Plan One: Elect supervisors at large.

Plan Two: Include residency requirements and elect supervisors countywide.

Plan Three: Elect supervisors by districts.

Pottawattamie County currently uses Plan One. Organizers of the petition want the county to switch to Plan 3 and elect supervisors according to districts. Petition organizers claim Plan 3 would benefit rural residents who want to run for office.

“A rural school teacher from Oakland who might want to run for office cannot currently compete with the political machine of Council Bluffs,” said Geri Frederiksen with Concerned Citizens of Pottawattamie County. “Districting is an opportunity to let the citizens of rural communities believe it is possible to run for office and win in a county as big as Pottawattamie County.”

Pottawattamie County’s population is mainly centered in Council Bluffs. In 2021, the county had an overall population of 93,304, while Council Bluffs alone accounted for 62,415 of those residents.

The petition needed 2,919 signatures, which is 10% of the 2022 general election turnout. Petition organizers gathered more than needed, getting 3,993 signatures in the last three months.

“In the last few months, we’ve talked to more than 4,000 Pottawattamie County residents about switching to Plan Three, and the overwhelming response to those conversations was ‘that makes sense,’” said Jennifer Pellant, the President of the Western Iowa Labor Federation.

The petition was turned into Pottawattamie County Wednesday morning but still needs to be verified.

If successful, there will be a countywide vote on Aug. 1, 2023, to consider a change to how residents elect the county board of supervisors


Managing Editor Kevin Westhues contributed to this report.