Anamosa Gazette, 1991

1 man, 1 vote not true in new Anamosa ward

By John G. Adney, Gazette Correspondent

ANAMOSA -- More than 90 percent of the residents of Ward 2 aren't eligible to vote.

They are inmates in the Iowa State Men's Reformatory.

The newly drawn Ward 2 includes 1,157 inmates and 122 free citizens.

The City Council approved new boundaries Monday night for Anamosa's four wards based on 1990 census figures, as required by law.

The redistricting places 1,279 Anamosans in each of wards 1 and 2, 1,260 in Ward 3 and 1,282 in Ward 4.

"There may well come a time when the number of the inmates could outnumber" the residents of any other ward, City Administrator John Haldeman told the council.

That probably has happened already. He said the reformatory's population Monday was 1,385, but it could drop before the next census in nine years.

Only 15 inmates are eligible to vote locally, but the entire reformatory census affects the redrawing of Anamosa Wards, Haldeman said.

A FELONY CONVICTION denies a person the right to vote, reformatory officials said. One to 2 percent of the reformatory inmates were convicted of misdemeanors and can vote.

But Michael Albers, Jones County auditor and election commissioner, said no inmate has even voted as far as he can determine.

To prevent the reformatory population outnumbering any ward and to make sure the federal one-person, one-vote rule will not be affected by the prisoner count, Haldeman recommended three alternatives for consideration: reduce the number of wards to three, increase them to five or elect the five council members at large.