Roland-Story School Board seat will be held by write-ins winner after votes in 4 counties are counted

Ronna Faaborg
Ames Tribune

Write-in votes will decide who will win one of the two open seats on the Roland-Story School Board, but the unofficial results of the write-ins will likely not be announced until Friday or Monday, Story County Auditor Lucy Martin said Tuesday.

Matthew Dahlsten was the only candidate on the ballot and earned enough votes to secure a position on the board.

Meghan McGonigal-Kenney and Erica Watts both announced themselves as write-in candidates after the candidate filing deadline.

Story County's unofficial results in the Roland-Story race showed 48.57% of the vote going to Dahlsten, with all precincts reporting, and 51.43% going to write-in votes.

The unofficial results on the Story County Auditor's website Tuesday night showed the unofficial total of the write-in votes cast but did not identify the people who received the votes or how many they received. The ballot-counting machine tabulates the number of ballots designated as "write-in" votes but does not read the names written, Martin said.

“Counting write-in votes is a very artisanal process — it’s time-consuming because each write-in has to be hand-counted,” Martin said. “We are in charge of 25 separate elections in Story County, and more than one of them have write-in campaigns going on.”

Candidate questionnaires:

The office has until Tuesday to tally the votes before the result is canvassed by the Story County Board of Supervisors. After the canvass, people who won seats by a write-in vote have 10 to decline the seat, she said.

Because the Roland-Story school district is in Story, Boone, Hamilton and Hardin counties, the auditors' offices in all of those counties will have to count the write-in votes before winners can officially be announced in this race.

More local results:

Mayor, four city council members reelected in Story City

In Story City's city election, five incumbents were reelected to serve in five seats on Story City's City Council.

Mayor Mike Jensen, who has served in the position since 2010 after first serving on the City Council for 31 years, ran unopposed and won reelection with 97.49% of votes, according to Tuesday's unofficial results. Two of his priorities, he told the Ames Tribune before the election, are to keep the city's emergency plan up-to-date and the rebuilding of the city's wastewater treatment plant.

Four of Story City's five at-large city council seats were also on Tuesday's ballot. Dave Sporleder and Mary Kay Solberg each won reelection. Jim O'Connor and Rhonda Ostrem were also on the ballot and were officially elected to the seats they've held by appointment.