Ann Campbell runs unopposed for Ames mayor; 8 candidates file for 5 City Council spots

Lissandra Villa

Ames City Council Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5, and with nine candidates running for positions, voters in Ames have some choices to make.

City clerk and records manager Diane Voss provided the following information on each of the candidates:

• Mayor: Ann Campbell, incumbent, is the only person currently seeking the office of mayor. She filed her petition for office with the city clerk on Sept. 10 with 186 signatures.

• 1st Ward candidates: Justin Dodge, filed on Aug. 26 with 75 signatures. Gloria Betcher, filed Sept. 13 with 51 signatures.

• 2nd Ward: Timothy Gartin, the sole candidate, filed his petition for office on Sept. 16 with 46 signatures.

• 3rd Ward: Peter Orazem, the sole candidate, filed Sept. 10 with 94 signatures.

• 4th Ward candidates: Chris Nelson filed Sept. 3 with 30 signatures. Victoria Szopinski, incumbent, filed Sept. 13, also with 30 signatures.

• At-large candidates: Amber Corrieri filed Sept. 5 with 98 signatures. Anne Kinzel filed Sept. 6 with 191 signatures.

“The candidates file their election petitions and affidavits of candidacy with me,” Voss said.

Candidates could begin filing papers with the city clerk on Aug. 26 and the final day was Sept. 19, said Lucy Martin, auditor and commissioner of elections for Story County.

“They could be collecting signatures anytime before that, so you might see candidates declaring [in] late spring, early summer,” Martin said.

Voss checks the information for accuracy. For example, she makes sure only signatures for a specific ward signed on behalf of a candidate running for that ward’s seat. Another example of something she double-checks is that whoever signed is a resident of Ames.

“I check to make sure there doesn’t appear to be any anomalies,” Voss said.

Voss is also responsible for making sure each candidate has enough signatures to make the petition valid. That number is 2 percent of the number of people who voted in the last election when that specific seat was on the ballot, Voss said.

Martin said as of Oct. 30 there are 42,236 people registered to vote in Ames. On average there is a 10 to 20 percent turnout for city elections in Ames, Martin said.

“You do not need to be registered to vote to sign a petition; you only need to be eligible to register to vote,” Voss said.

When those documents are verified for accuracy they are handed over to the auditor’s office, which then creates the ballots, Martin said.

“We also hire all of the election officials, train them and run the precincts on Election Day,” Martin said.

Ames is divided into four wards. In each of these, there are five precincts. Precincts are based on population rather than registered voters, Martin said.

Martin said that to be eligible to run for City Council, candidates must be eligible to register to vote in their ward, be 18 years of age and a resident of the office they are running for in addition to being a U.S. citizen.

Financial aspects of the campaigns are handled directly by the state, Martin said.