County auditor, sheriff uncontested on ballotPolling sites, times listed
Political campaigning draws attention to contested races, yet there are some candidates on Jefferson County’s ballot who are unopposed.
County auditor Scott Reneker is the only name on this year’s ballot for that position, although voters always have the choice to write-in another person’s name.
“I had an opponent back in 2000, I think it was,” said Reneker this morning, his busiest day of the year.
The county auditor also is the commissioner of elections. While early voting and absentee voting for this general election have been in process for 30 days, today, the day before the nation’s official election day, is when Reneker has readied vote packets for pickup this morning by 12 chairpersons of Jefferson County’s polling sites.
Educated and working as an accountant, Reneker was first elected in 1992 and has served 20 years as Jefferson County auditor.
“The job has a variety of responsibilities,” he said. “It makes it interesting for me; I like the projects and I like politics, so this is a good fit for me.”
Jefferson County’s website describes an Iowa county auditor’s duties and functions as:
• Preparing and certifying tax levies.
• Maintaining financial records.
• Clerk to the county Board of Supervisors
• Commissioner of elections.
• Keeping real estate transfer records.
“I’ve seen a lot in my 20 years on the job,” Reneker said. “Challenges and difficulties don’t seem so big. I’ve had to handle all kinds of circumstances.
“Elections are always a busy time, even in our county. We expect around 8,500 voters,” he said. “All votes that are in by 9 p.m. tomorrow will be counted tomorrow night. That includes the early and absentee votes as well as those cast at the polls tomorrow.”
Today is the postmark deadline for mailing absentee ballots back to the county. Those absentee ballots must have today’s postmark, or earlier, to be counted, but they have a week, or until Nov. 13, to reach the county office.
The county website also provides a brief history about the role of auditors: “In 1851, the first Code of Iowa gave the duties covered by the office of the County Auditor to the County Judge. With the formation of the Board of Supervisors in 1861, the duties were passed to the Clerk of Court. In 1870, as a part of reorganizing county government, the office of County Auditor was created. It was in the early 1970’s that the State Legislature added the duties of Commissioner of Elections to the office. The County Auditor is an elected position, with a term of four years.”
Sheriff 4-year term elected office
Another single race in Jefferson County is Gregg Morton for county sheriff.
Morton has worked in the sheriff’s office for 16 years, served as a Fairfield policeman for seven years and worked 3.5 years on the Greenbelt, Md., police force.
“I was offered a job in Maryland when I left the Marine Corps and I took it,” he said. “But I’m from here, I graduated from Fairfield High School.”
Heading up the sheriff’s office has been one of Morton’s career ambitions. He doesn’t anticipate shaking things up or making big changes.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “Jerry [Droz] and I have worked the last 18 months to figure out the direction to take for this department and I want to continue those plans. He’s been a good boss to work with.”
Droz, first elected as Jefferson County Sheriff in 2004, has served as head of the department for eight years, or two terms.
“I’m grateful for all the support I’ve gotten to run,” said Morton. “Thanks to all the people who have encouraged me.”
The Jefferson County website also describes the sheriff’s duties and responsibilities: “The sheriff’s office is responsible for law enforcement and the county jail.
“The county sheriff along with the County Attorney are chiefly responsible for enforcement of laws. The county maintains a jail which the county sheriff supervises.”
• Summon grand and petit jurors.
• Principal peace officer in the county.
• Execute and return all writs and other legal processes issued to him by lawful authorities.
• Custodian of the county jail and is responsible for all prisoners committed to him until discharged by law.
• Upon commitment from the Clerk of District Court, transport convicts to the penitentiary and patients to the state hospitals for the insane.
• Patrol all roads in the county.
• Assist other law enforcement agencies.
More races with no challengers
Other uncontested races on Jefferson County ballot are:
• County public health center trustees, vote for two; on ballot — Tom Kunkle and Greg Hanshaw.
• Soil & Water Conservation District 51 Commissioner, vote for three; on ballot — Jeff M. Fritz, Jill D. Burnett and Rachel Engwall.
• County Agriculture Extension Council, vote for four; on ballot — Marvin W. Larson, Wayne Mitchell and Jeanette Lacey.
A total of 10 judges also are on the ballot; the vote is whether to keep these individuals on the job, with a voting choice, yes or no.
Polling sites, times listed
Voting hours in Iowa are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Polling sites in Jefferson County are:
• Blackhawk and Polk townships and Packwood — Packwood Fire Station.
• Buchanan Township — First United Methodist Church, Fairfield.
• Center and Cedar townships and Maharishi Vedic City — Jefferson County Fairgrounds Activity Building in Fairfield.
• Fairfield 1st Ward — Fairfield High School gym lobby.
• Fairfield 2nd Ward — Lincoln Center, formerly Lincoln Elementary School.
• Fairfield 3rd Ward — Nazarene Family Center.
• Fairfield 4th Ward — Jefferson County Courthouse.
• Fairfield 5th Ward — Pence Elementary School.
• Liberty and Des Moines townships and Libertyville — Libertyville Community Center.
• Locust Grove Township and Batavia — Batavia Community Center.
• Penn Township and Pleasant Plain — Pleasant Plain Community Center.
• Walnut, Lockridge, Round Prairie townships and Coppock and Lockridge — Lockridge school gym.
These sites are accessible to elderly voters and voters with disabilities.
Any voter who is physically unable to enter a polling place has the right to vote in the voter’s vehicle.
Any voter may declare upon oath that the voter is blind, has an inability to read or write, or is, by any reason of physical disability other than intoxication, unable to cast a vote without assistance. The voter may request assistance from a precinct election official or anyone in the polling place except the voter’s employer, employer’s agent or an officer or agent of the voter’s union.
Contact the county auditor’s office at 472-2840 or by email email@example.com or visit the state website, www.sos.iowa.gov for more information.