Since there were a handful of Ward 2 residents expressed interest to fill the last 2½ years of Kris Glaser’s term when he resigns May 31, the Waverly City Council on Monday decided to set a June 1 special election.
Glaser, who was elected to the seat in the 2019 municipal election, announced Dec. 7 he was planning a move to the Des Moines area to be closer to a new position he had recently taken.
In February, the council informally decided to see what kind of interest there would be in the seat before moving forward with the vote or appointing a replacement.
Ward 2 encompasses much of the northeast quadrant of town and some of the northwest part. It is bordered by 12th Street Northwest, Cedar River Drive, Woodring Drive, parts of 10th Avenue, Fourth Street, Seventh Avenue and Second Street Northwest, the Rail Trail between Second Street Northwest and Second Avenue Northeast, parts of Second Avenue and Sixth Street Northeast, and East Bremer Avenue from Sixth Street to the city limit.
Prospective candidates would need to collect 13 signatures from eligible voters within that area and turn the petition into the Bremer County Auditor’s Office by May 7, according to Auditor Shelley Wolf.
Discussion between Ward 3 Councilman Rod Drenkow and Mayor Adam Hoffman led to the setting of that date through an impromptu resolution. City Clerk Carla Guyer confirmed that Wolf told her that day was the next available special election date.
At first, Hoffman thought the city should be flexible about the voting schedule.
“I don’t think we want to be necessarily tied down to that date, not that we couldn’t come back and amend it,” Hoffman said. “Just to know that we’re going towards that direction, as we know this is still a discussion point yet.”
Drenkow clarified his intent for the motion was to set an election date at the earliest possible time. He added it was his understanding circumstances may force the city to hold it later than June 1.
Ward 5 Councilman Tim Kangas said the auditor’s office would dictate when the next available date would be, so that would be when the city would set its vote.
Guyer told the council June 1 is open.
“(Wolf) said they are available or open, the schedule is open for that date, as well,” she said.
“Then let’s claim it,” Kangas said.
“Stick the flag,” Hoffman added.
Ward 1 Councilman Brian Birgen said there have been four possible candidates for the upcoming vacancy, though he didn’t identify either. He added they still have to file petitions to be placed on the ballot, and there could be more than that quartet who could run.
“I suppose I’m postulating that we could have as many as candidates on the ballot, so there’s a very good chance that none of them will actually get a majority, and we may have to have a runoff election,” Birgen said. “I’m going to once again say that it sure would be nice if we could have an instant runoff to save us the cost of a second election. It sure would be nice — I don’t believe we have that option — I would once again mention it would be nice (to have ranked choice voting).”
In a previous discussion, Birgen called for the city to adopt ranked choice voting for municipal elections, especially in races where three or more candidates are in the running. Voters would rank their preferences among the candidates, and if no one had a majority of first-place votes, the last-place candidate is eliminated, and his/her votes are distributed to voters’ second choices. The process continues until one person gets the 50%-plus-one-vote margin.
Drenkow reworded his motion back to his original June 1 date.
“As long as Kris can guarantee he’s going to be gone by May 31, we’re in good shape,” Drenkow said while trying to stifle a laugh.
“He may want to be gone sooner than that after this,” Hoffman quipped.