Why students should vote


Photo:Nick Nelson/Iowa State Daily

City elections in Story County took place on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Voting took place between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Ashley Seaton

According to the Story County Auditor’s Office, Ward

4 Precincts 4 and 5 (both located on ISU campus) recorded seven

votes total in the Ames City Council election Nov. 8. These seven

votes made up 0.39 percent of the total voting population.

On Tuesday, Dec. 6, there will be a runoff election

between Victoria Szopinski and Chuck Jons, and there is much

encouragement by both parties to get students out to vote.

Tor Finseth, liaison for the Government of the

Student Body to City Council, said, “I can name a lot of reasons

why students should vote. Obviously, there is a number of things

that seem very apparent about how City Council plays into your

life, but it’s actually a lot more than I imagined.”

Some of the issues that most concern students may

include: CyRide, Campustown renovation, apartments and off-campus

housing, expanding retail space, and sustainability.

“We share CyRide with the city. ISU pays close to 60

percent of the revenue, and that’s pretty good considering that

CyRide has over 5 million riders per year, and upwards of 90

percent of those are students. Since we’re only paying 60 percent

of the budget, that’s a pretty good deal … especially with fuel

prices going up. We are at a budget shortfall, and this is going to

go through City Council,” Finseth said.

The answer may be raising tuition for students to

compensate for prices. Depending on GSB funds and the way the City

Council wants to approach, there is a possibility that students

might be paying more to meet the budget shortfall.

Finseth also said that there is “so much

collaboration between the university and the city because of all

the land that is owned by ISU. In general, six of Ames’ major parks

and rec facilities are located on ISU land.”

There has long been collaboration between the

university and the city, meaning that voting for City Council can

impact students more than realized.

Chuck Jons, who is running for 4th Ward City Council

representation, said, “I respect what ISU means to Ames. Because of

that, I want to help ISU in any way I can and see them succeed. I

think City Council can partner with ISU to create a vision.”

Jons’ perspective alludes to how much the City

Council can affect students’ lives while there are living in Ames

and attending Iowa State. The Council and the university work

together in more areas that not, regarding all aspects of resident

and student life.

For example Finseth said, “ISU really only uses power

in the summer to heat the buildings. So what happens is during the

summer if a heat wave comes in, Ames residents use a ton of

electricity. When the city can’t keep up with that, the university

gives them the extra power. And the same thing goes for the

university in the winter. When the students need the extra power

for heat the city gives power to the university.”

There has also been talk of goals regarding moving

most the core departments, such as ISU Legal and Ames police, off


Victoria Szopinski, who is running for a 4th Ward

seat against Jons, said, “Students need to be apart of the mix. We

need to exercise our right to vote. It is a privilege to speak out

and let your voice be heard.”

Szopinski also thinks that students can bring a

unique perspective and “new knowledge” to the council.

Finseth said, “Hopefully in the next few years we’ll

see a Campustown renovation and more intermodal facilities. …

It’s one of those things where they say people don’t appreciate Tab

1 until it’s shut off. It’s exactly like that. For providing all

the pollution treatment, water treatment, fire safety, all that

stuff you don’t really think about and students don’t necessarily

need, but it could come to play in a critical situation.”