Scott County Democrats launch petition for special election to fill auditor

Scott County voters have elected Democrats as auditor for the past four decades.

Iowa Code, as well, allows voters to petition for a special election, but a new state law sets a 14-day deadline to pass such petitions.

The new law, sponsored by state Sen. Roby Smith, R-Bettendorf, also prevents voters from beginning to collect signatures to force an election until after county supervisors select an appointee to fill the seat through the next general election in November 2022. Previously, voters could begin circulating a petition once elected officials decided to fill the seat by appointment rather than by a special election.

Roland Caldwell, operations manager for the Scott County Auditor’s Office, said supervisors are tentatively scheduled to meet Tuesday to make an appointment, which would be temporary should Democrats successfully force an election.

That would put the deadline at 4:30 p.m. June 8 for Democrats to gather the required signatures from 9,260 eligible Scott County voters, or 10% of the votes cast in the last general election.

The soonest an election could be held is 40 days after supervisors receive a valid petition and call for a special election, Caldwell said. That, he said, would give the Scott County Democratic and Republican parties two weeks to hold special conventions to nominate candidates, or for an individual to gather at least 250 signatures from eligible voters to appear on the ballot.

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