Today's Cedar Rapids runoff elections: What you need to know

A woman votes at Bethany Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
A woman votes at Bethany Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

WHO’S INVOLVED IN TODAY’S RUNOFF ELECTION?

Voters across Cedar Rapids today will be choosing a mayor between candidates Monica Vernon, 60, a businesswoman and former Cedar Rapids City Council member, and Brad Hart, 61, a local attorney who’s making his first run for public office. And residents of Cedar Rapids’ council District 5 will choose a council member between candidates Justin Shields, 75, the incumbent and a retired Quaker Oats worker, and challenger Ashley Vanorny, 32, an internet technology professional. District 5 covers portions of south and southwest Cedar Rapids; for a map of the district, click here.

SO WHY IS THERE A RUNOFF?

Neither candidate for mayor or District 5 gathered enough votes in November’s general election to win outright. Vernon and Hart were the top vote-getters among eight candidates for mayor, while Shields and Vanorny were the two top vote-getters among three candidates in District 5.

WHAT WERE THE VOTING RESULTS IN NOVEMBER?

Vernon was the top vote-getter in the November election for mayor, with 30.34 percent; Hart was second with 20.37 percent. And in District 5, Vanorny received 43.2 percent, while Shields got 40.4 percent.

WHERE CAN I VOTE TODAY?

All regular Cedar Rapids voting precincts are open today from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you don’t know where to vote, you can find your polling location at linncountyelections.org/lookup

WHAT IF I’M NOT REGISTERED TO VOTE?

According to the Linn County Auditor’s Office website, new voters or people who have moved should bring physical proof of identification and physical proof of residency to their polling location to vote. Registered voters will not need ID until 2018.

WHAT IS THE EXPECTED TURNOUT?

Turnout could well be higher than it was in November. Monday featured a steady stream of early voters at the Linn County Auditor’s Office, said Becky Stonawski, deputy auditor for elections. Auditor’s office data showed 3,317 absentee ballots have been returned, out of 3,584 requested. That’s nearly 30 percent more than the 2,566 early votes during the regular election, and 879 of the runoff votes are from people who didn’t vote on Nov. 7, Stonawski said.

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