By Cindy Hadish/Homegrown Iowan
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Mickey Mouse and Donald Trump appeared as write-in candidates for nearly every Cedar Rapids City Council and School Board race on Nov. 7, with “Free Palestine” also making a frequent appearance on the ballot.
The race for at-large City Council, won by incumbent Ann Poe and newcomer David Maier, drew the most write-ins, at 385, out of 43,466 contest totals, according to the Linn County Auditor’s Office.
Donald Trump tied with City Council member Scott Olson in that race with the top write-in votes, at four each, followed by Donald Duck, with two.
Other notables in the at-large race included “Star Wars” characters Han Solo and Chewbacca, presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, Bob Dylan, Mickey Mouse, Jesus Christ, “Free Palestine” and William Shakespeare, at one write-in vote each.
Mickey Mouse fared better in the District 2 City Council race won by Scott Overland. The Disney character garnered four write-in votes, beating out Trump and “Twinkle Toes” with one each, among more than 70 write-ins.
In the District 4 City Council race, won by Scott Olson, Trump, Abraham Lincoln and “Literally Anybody Else” all received one write-in nod out of 32 cast.
Trump tied with Grant Wood Elementary PTA President Maura Pilcher with four write-in votes each, followed by Mickey Mouse with three, in the Cedar Rapids Community School District at-large race, won by Cindy Garlock and Jen Neumann.
Other notables in the 184 write-in ballots cast in that race included Oprah Winfrey, Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam and another vote for “Free Palestine,” at one each.
With five write-in votes, Mickey Mouse bested Trump by one in the District 1 School Board race won by David Tominsky. “Free Palestine” and Elmer Fudd were among other write-ins at one vote each, out of 139.
The votes flipped in the District 4 School Board race, won by Kaitlin Byers, with Trump garnering six write-in votes to three for Mickey Mouse, out of 150 write-ins. “Free Palestine,” Donald Duck and Wil E Coyote each received a write-in vote in that race.
In the $220 million Cedar Rapids School Bond referendum, which needed 60 percent to pass, nearly 61 percent of voters — 13,057 — voted against the measure, which would have built a new $127 million 1,200-student middle school at an undisclosed site as the most costly expense in the plan.
“Yes” voters, at 8,213, or about 39 percent, did not align with the biggest proponents of the bond.
For example, 10,229 voters cast their ballots for Garlock, the top vote-getter in the School Board at-large race, leaving a deficit of more than 2,000 people who voted for the ardent supporter of the bond, but not in favor of the bond itself.
The same was true on the flip side, with District 4 incumbent Dexter Merschbrock, the only School Board member to oppose the $220 million bond, receiving 8,090 votes, short of the “no” votes by nearly 5,000, showing that in both cases, numerous voters cast a ballot for the bond referendum, but did not vote in the School Board races.
Results become official after the canvass of votes Nov. 14.