School board elections are being held throughout Iowa today.
Seven candidates are running for three seats on the Fort Dodge Community School District school board: Randal Funchess, Lisa Shimkat, William Offerman, Troy Schroeder, John F. Williams, and incumbents Brian Forsythe and Stuart Cochrane.
Board member Jan Merz, whose four-year term ends this year, is not seeking re-election to the board.
Jennifer Lane, FDCSD director of communications, said school board members play an important role in the community.
"Being a member of the school board is one of the most important responsibilities an individual can hold, being entrusted to ensure that our schools help students reach their highest educational potential," Lane said.
Carol Messerly, Webster County auditor, said the polls are open at 7 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m in all Fort Dodge school district precincts.
"There are (precinct election officials) set up at every precinct in the city of Fort Dodge. All 12 precincts will be used," Messerly said. "We'll have two precincts for Manson Northwest Webster school district. There's three precincts for Prairie Valley and three precincts for Southeast Webster-Grand."
School board elections do not usually receive a high turnout, Messerly said.
"Generally there's been around maybe 8 to 10 percent of registered voters," she said. "This year, Fort Dodge school district, for instance, has races. You've got seven candidates for three positions. That might draw more interest. In the rural school district there's been some interest and talks of a merge at some point, and there's different opinions about that."
According to Messerly, the county has already received 64 absentee ballots.
After the polls close, the auditor's office will tabulate the results.
"We'll be bringing back the supplies with the election cards from the polls when they're through," Messerly said.
Lane said she hopes the community will vote today.
"We encourage everyone to get out and vote for the candidates you believe have the right leadership and vision for the continued success of our schools and students."