It's not that voters are apathetic so much as they are really busy in one tiny Iowa city, where a school board seat went unfilled because no one cast a ballot – including the candidate himself, who was running unopposed.

Randy Richardson could have secured his seat on the Riceville Board of Education with a single vote, but the Sept. 8 election came during the tiny northern city’s busy harvest season, when all hands are needed on the farm. Even Richardson himself couldn’t make it to the polls – he works a 40-hour week at a soy bean processing plant in Riceville (pop. 800), then goes home to his 200-acre farm in nearby McIntyre.

“I was a little surprised no one voted, but then again, it was a nice day and people were out working.”

- Randy Richardson

“I was a little surprised no one voted, but then again, it was a nice day and people were out working,” Richardson told “And my district has a lot of Amish folks who don’t vote, and older people who also don’t always vote.”

School Board President Karl Fox, himself a hog farmer, told The Des Moines Register the election came at the worst possible time.

“The Tuesday after the Labor Day holiday weekend is a horrible time for any election, he said. In a rural area such as this, some people drive 50 miles or more just to get to work,” Fox said. “And a community dominated by production agriculture doesn’t just understand the adage ‘Make hay while the sun shines.’ Local farmers must live it.”

Richardson, who has first- and fifth-grade boys in the regional school system, was appointed to the District 3 seat at Monday’s board meeting.

“No one else in my area wanted the job, and everybody knows how busy I am,” he said. “But somebody had to do it, and I guess I stepped up.”

According to the Register, there are 122 registered voters in the district. In an editorial, the paper urged state and local officials to

“Holding important local government elections at the end of summer vacation season has always seemed poor timing,” the editorial read. “But the Legislature, school officials and county auditors have resisted moving school elections to the November general election ballot.”