December 15, 2021
What’s up with West Liberty precincts?
Due to the latest census, the State of Iowa is requiring towns with a population of 3,500 or greater to reexamine their voting precincts. So, on Tuesday, Dec. 21, the City Council will hold a public hearing regarding a proposal for new precinct boundaries.
What does this really mean? Well, for West Liberty, not that much.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the population of West Liberty, as of the 2020 census, is 3,858 people. This makes West Liberty the 105th most populated city in Iowa out of 1,008 cities.
Additionally, the same 2020 census found that West Liberty’s major racial/ethnic groups are Hispanic (58.3%), White (37.7%) and Asian (1.7%).
Anyway, due to this once-in-a-decade information provided by United States Census data, the city must redraw its precinct boundaries to comply with Iowa law.
However, redraw may be a bit too strong. Neither of the proposals make major changes to the current precincts, although the second does divide the north precinct into two.
To get specific, according to Iowa Code 49.3, Section 1.A. “No precinct shall have a total population in excess of three thousand five hundred (3,500), as shown by the most recent federal decennial census.”
Also, in Iowa Code 49.5, Section 2:
“The council of a city where establishment of more than one precinct is necessary or deemed advisable shall, at the time required by law, divide the city into the number of election precincts as will best serve the convenience of the voters while promoting electoral efficiency.”
Currently West Liberty is divided into two precincts. Everything within city limits north of Sixth St. is West Liberty 1/Wapsie, while everything within city limits south of Sixth St. is West Liberty 2.
The Council must decide whether to keep these same boundaries, or to divide the north precinct into two, creating a third precinct. Either way, the council must revisit the city’s precincts after every census for the State of Iowa.
No matter what the council chooses, not much will change for residents. After all, electoral precincts do not have separate governmental authorities. It will all continue to be the City of West Liberty.
To that point, no new land is being annexed or acquired; city limits will remain the same. Also, everyone in West Liberty will continue to vote at the West Liberty Community Center during elections.
Basically, the City of West Liberty is being asked to reexamine its precincts for state and county purposes. The city might keep the same map with two precincts, or adopt a third precinct within city limits.
Public Hearing Notice to Adopt New Precinct Boundaries
Proposition One: Divide North and South by leaving old precinct lines unchanged and adding a new North precinct
Proposition Two: Divide North and South along Hwy 6