Election officials looking to future
Fargo school officials hope a revamped voting system will boost turnout at the polls next year. Officials were disappointed only 1,497 voters cast ballots in Tuesday's Fargo School Board election. "When that few people get out to vote, it's not d...
Fargo school officials hope a revamped voting system will boost turnout at the polls next year.
Officials were disappointed only 1,497 voters cast ballots in Tuesday's Fargo School Board election.
"When that few people get out to vote, it's not democracy. It's complacency," said Laura Carley, a Fargo School Board member.
Last year's combined school district and city elections drew about 18,000 voters. Turnout for this year's stand-alone school district election was down more than 90 percent.
But this year's election was the last held separately by the district. The 2004 election will be combined with city and state elections and will run bi-annually starting in 2006.
The new plan should boost interest in school elections, said Dave Langemo, a member of the Fargo School Board, which approved the change two years ago. "We think combining it with the city and state (elections) will get more people interested," he said.
County and school district officials said Wednesday they were uncertain why so few people voted.
Whatever the figure, the scope of Fargo Public Schools warranted a far higher turnout, Carley said.
The district has about 11,000 students and an $80 million annual budget. Each ballot cast represented about 7 students and $53,0000 of budget.
Three seats on the nine-member board were up for grabs Tuesday.
Official election results announced Wednesday were unchanged from those released Tuesday evening.
They gave incumbent Dan Fremling 943 votes, challenger Blake Miller 933 votes and Carley 930.
Challenger Carolyn Hunter received 868. Various write-in candidates received a total of 19 votes. Langemo didn't seek re-election.
Fremling, Carley and Miller begin their terms July 8.
Voters also approved continuing to publish minutes of School Board meetings in The Forum. There were 1,179 yes votes and 208 no votes.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530