A thunderous shoutout to Iowa lawmakers who kept Iowa’s gold standard redistricting maps fair and balanced and served up just what Iowans asked for: a level political playing field.

While compromise in politics seems to have gone by the boards in Washington, D.C. — and in Springfield, Ill. — under the gold dome in Des Moines, legislators are still getting it done.

In some ways, it is the very creation of politically “safe seats” through the use of gerrymandering that has led to the deep political polarization in America. When a district is drawn to ensure victory for one party or the other, there is no call for running centrist or moderate candidates. Instead, the primaries are the real contests — a competition for which candidates can be more extreme. Then, once elected, said representative has no motivation to compromise. After all, with a safe seat back home, who needs to work well with the other side of the aisle?

But Iowans don’t think government should work like that. And Iowa lawmakers listened to their constituents.

A big Iowa cheer for the fair and square approach that has become the calling card of politics in the state.

Iowa communities now have two combined city-school board elections on the books, and it seems to be working just fine.

For years, elections officials in Iowa resisted the change, saying it would be confusing because it would require multiple different ballots depending on where voters live. But for the second time, things went pretty smoothly despite the challenges.

Combining school and city elections created some efficiencies like testing machines, ordering ballots and training poll workers. Those changes likely resulted in some financial savings.

Additionally, the impact on voter turnout has been positive. In Dubuque County, more than 23% of registered voters cast a ballot in this year’s election compared with 15% two years ago and even above the 18.2% in the previous city election, held in 2017. Meanwhile, the Dubuque Community School District has often hovered in the single-digit percentages for turnout, so it’s exciting to see a more engaged electorate brought out to the polls.

Gearing up voters once instead of twice is a positive change and likely will mean less expense over time.

When it comes to local elections, one local group stands out in its efforts every year to provide voters a chance to hear from candidates in a forum, answering thoughtful questions about the issues of the day.

The League of Women Voters takes this charge seriously and has for more than a century been a nonpartisan, activist, grass-roots organization that believes voters should play a critical role in democracy.

Locally, that has meant organizing candidate forums for both primary and general elections this fall for both Dubuque City Council and Dubuque Community School Board. That meant coordinating schedules with well over a dozen candidates.

The Dubuque community owes a debt of gratitude to the League of Women Voters for living its mission: “Empowering voters. Defending democracy.” Doing so has given Dubuque residents the opportunity to be a more informed electorate.

Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board.

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