Low voter turn-out, numerous write-in winners for city elections


By Shelia Tomkins

City elections were held statewide on Tuesday, Nov. 5, but garnered minimal interest in Clayton County due to many uncontested races, resulting in low voter turn-out and numerous seats filled by write-in votes.

The following election summaries for communities in The Press readership area are based on unofficial results. Clayton County Commissioner of Elections Dennis Freitag said the official canvass of votes will take place on Nov. 12 (after Press deadline). Any changes will be reported in next week's issue.


Guttenberg voter turn-out was  19.44% of all registered voters. Incumbent Russell Loven, the lone candidate for mayor, was returned to office with 219 votes.

  Council candidates for three open seats, all running unopposed, were elected: incumbent Steve Friedlein with 215 votes, incumbent  David Schlueter with 212 votes and Fred Schaub with 228 votes.

Elected to the two vacancies on the hospital board  were Susan Osterhaus with 231 votes and  Douglas Reimer with 213 votes.

The park board had two vacancies (one for a six-year term and the other to fill the remainder of an  unexpired term) with no candidates filing for seats. Austin Greve was the write-in winner for both seats, with 52 write-ins for the 6-year term and 15 for the unexpired term. 

Election Commissioner Freitag explained that Greve can accept the position of his choice, and if so, must therefore decline the other. The second place write-in for the seat Greve declines will then be declared the winner of that term. 

All write-in candidates have the option of declining seats after they have been declared the winner. Freitag explained that following the official canvass, all winning write-in candidates are notified and must file an affidavit of candidacy if they choose to accept the position.

In the case of a write-in candidate who declines a position,  the next highest write-in would be declared the winner and can accept or decline. Iowa code does not provide for declaring the third-finishing write-in candidate the winner if the two top finishers decline; according to law the seat would be filled by appointment or by special election.

Greve has indicated to The Press his intent to accept the 6-year term. The second highest write-in for the unexpired term is Helene Kuempel with 8 votes, followed by Shane Anderson with 7 votes.


The Garnavillo race saw six candidates seeking three city council seats. Elected were Robert Bodish with 110 votes, Lyndon Meyer 87, and Fern Moser 70. Voter turn-out in Garnavillo was 30.47% of total registered voters.

In addition, Garnavillo voters, by a 102-41 margin, approved a measure to change the library board from seven members to five effective Jan. 1, 2014. 


There were no candidates on the ballot for mayor or five council seats. Write-in winner for mayor was Nioka Schroeder with 9 votes. Write-in council winners were Lyle Schroeder 9, Hermie Schroeder 8, Ray DeMuth 7, and LeRoy Dugan 7. The fifth seat was a tie with 5 write-ins each for John Dedic and Elizabeth Jaster. The Board of Canvassers (the Board of Supervisors) will break the tie by using a game of chance,  i.e., cutting cards.

North Buena Vista

Robert Ludovissy won the mayor's seat with 38 votes.

Seven candidates sought five council seats; winners were David Breitbach 38 votes, Donald Riniker 38, Lyndon Ludovissy 33, Jayme Honkomp 28, and James Gordon 27. 


There was no candidate for mayor; John Youngblut finished first in write-in votes with 7. There were five seats open on the city council with six candidates. Winners were JoAnn Creery 22, David Hart 21, Dixie Connell 18, and Darryll Noble 17.

The fifth seat resulted in a tie between Harland Grunder and Joanna Jody Holm with 13 each. If the tie remains following the official canvass, the winner will be decided by the Board of Canvassers using a game of chance. 


Roger Bolsinger was elected mayor with 5 votes. Elected to the city council were Diane Bolsinger, Diana Hansel and Rodney Ingles with 5 votes each.


With no candidates on the ballot, the following are write-in winners: Mayor, Chad Freeman, 9 votes; council, Brad Miller 9, Phoebe Johnson 9, Dennis Sargent 9, Bob Petsche 9 and Ronnie Meyer 6.

Speedy election returns

"I was pleased with the way all our county election workers quickly turned in the results," said Freitag, who serves as both the Clayton County Auditor and the Commissioner of Elections. "Forty-five minutes after the polls closed we had the results tabulated, information on our website and distributed to the media."

Freitag said he received compliments from a major daily newspaper and a TV station on the speed and accuracy of local election night reporting. "Dan (Berns) from KCTN radio also did a great job of reporting results on election night," noted Freitag.

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