Letter to the editor: Encourage local voting at Community Rocks! Rally

COMMUNITY ROCKS! Rally for the ICCSD School Board Vote

901 Melrose Ave — Saturday, Aug. 5 at 5:00 p.m.

By Rachel Howell & the Community Rocks! Team

If you follow voting numbers, you’ll see that people come out in the largest numbers for presidential elections.

The next largest group of voters come out every couple years for state elections, and the smallest group of voters come out for local elections.

If you follow progress of any community, you’ll find that the higher the percentage of eligible voters traveling to the polls to assert their opinion, the more reflective the elected leaders are of the community they serve.

Let’s face it, the president of the United States has much less to do with the particulars of the city we live in — zoning issues, the school district our children attend, the tax proposals, etc. — than city council, district reps and school board members.

So why is it that the smallest number of voters comes out to local elections when they have the most impact on their individual lives?

Possibly, part of the issue is ease of access to information. The ISideWith quiz is one of my favorites, but it’s on a national scale, not a local one. There’s always fun musicians and actors making million-dollar commercials about ideas, candidates and the importance of voting but it’s every four years.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reported in July 2016 that community just barely squeaked into the double digits last go ’round:

The unofficial results show Tuesday’s election drew 8.64 percent of registered voters who cast 5,761 votes.

During the last Iowa City Community School District special election in 2013, 8.09 percent of registered voters, or 6,082 voters, cast ballots on a revenue purpose statement.

In last September’s board election, 10.55 percent of registered voters cast 7,297 votes.

Because of this, myself and a small team got together to create an event that is designed to assist in replacing that small number with a percentage that is a lot more reflective of the kind of place we live in and the people we share it with.

We don’t have millions for splashy TV ads, but, luckily, we live in a place that is teeming with talent. With an important school board vote coming up, we married the two into a free Rock The Vote event: COMMUNITY ROCKS! Rally for the ICCSD School Board Vote.

This nonpartisan, family-friendly shindig boasts the talents of Chase Garrett feat. Emilie Richard, Death Valley Welcome Center and Dave Moore — and every declared school board candidate will be along for the ride.

Our community starts with education (locally, statewide and nationally). It’s not just the elected board, but the teachers, the students and the potential funding measures that will be featured on this upcoming ballot. We must weigh the potential progress, our beliefs and opinions, when we vote. And we MUST vote.

We hope you’ll join us on Aug. 5 from 5-9 p.m. at 901 Melrose Ave in Iowa City. Bring your picnics, lawn chairs and blankets, and engage in discourse with the school board hopefuls. We’ll have some food and water, candidate and GO Bond information and good ol’ American, civic-related FUN.

Let’s make this vote-rocking contagious.

Please direct any questions to

Nonprofit donations accepted to offset cost of the event, with surplus gifted to the ICCSD Foundation.

Thank you for your time and hope to see you there!

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 225.