On Wednesday, March 9, 2011 the Iowa Court of Appeals heard oral argument in the case of City of Bettendorf v. Scott County and Scott County Auditor Roxanna Moritz.  This was the first case of its kind, asking the court to interpret state election law regarding when to conduct an election to fill a vacancy in office when a city has opted to temporarily fill the vacancy by appointment. 

Last year Auditor Moritz informed Scott County cities that the 2010 general election would count as the next pending election for filling such vacancies.  Bettendorf objected to this decision, and filed a law suit arguing that such vacancies should only be filled during city elections and citing 20 years of past practice as justification. After a hearing on the matter the local district court sided with Bettendorf.  Scott County appealed this decision.

The case was argued by Auditor’s Office Operations Manager Roland Caldwell for Scott County and Corporate Counsel Greg Jager for the City of Bettendorf.  Caldwell argued that the plain meaning of the law, including the complete context of the statute in question, and the history behind the statute proved that the legislature intended to fill vacancies at general elections.  Jager argued that the legislature intended for city elections to be held entirely separate from general elections and that the statute should be interpreted for that result.

The case was argued at Levitt Auditorium at the University of Iowa College of Law.  A decision from the Court of Appeals is expected in the next few weeks.