Students called on to vote in Tuesday’s city elections

Taylor Diles

The voting booths will open as the citizens of Ames make their voices heard during this year’s city elections Tuesday. Riad Mahayni, ISU professor of community and regional planning and representative of the 4th Ward, has decided not to run for re-election. This position is the only one that is contested on the ballot. 

The 4th Ward is home to the ISU campus, as well as West Ames (the are north of Lincoln Way). However, the 4th Ward does not have the best voting history when it comes to the Ames elections.

According to city records, of the 9,729 registered voters in the 4th Ward, only 768 of them actually voted in the 2009 elections. That is only 7.9 percent of voters. Also, Precincts 4 and 5 of the 4th Ward had the worst turnout, both with less than 1 percent of registered voters casting ballots. In Ward 2 alone, three times as many voters turned out to the polls. 

Peter Orazem, university professor of economics and one of two at-large representatives for the entire city of Ames, stressed how important it is for students to vote in the upcoming elections.

“Students are half of the population,” he said. “If they became interested, they could have huge impacts on these elections.”

However, some students have reservations about voting here in Ames.

“I think a lot of students here aren’t informed enough to make these decisions. Voting is great, but not if you’re voting for which name sounds best,” said Ryan Hagen, sophomore in aerospace engineering. “And besides, we’re only here for four years. It should be left up to the permanent citizens of Ames.”

It is important to remember, however, that the city makes decisions that can change students’ time here dramatically. Some of the many issues tackled by the council that affect students include CyRide, parking, recreational facilities, liquor licenses and funding for student organizations. On Tuesday’s ballot, there is a vote on an $18 million loan agreement to expand and update the Ames Public Library. All of these things directly impact life on campus and in the city of Ames. 

The city wants the students to have their voices heard. “The more integrated we are, the better,” Orazem said.

He stressed that there is always a way to get in touch with the city, whether through the Government of the Student Body or Iowa State’s liaison to the city, Tor Finseth.

Students also can go to council members directly. “Every email gets answered,” Orazem said. 

For a full map of the city’s wards and precincts, click here