Fluoride Action Network

Wisner: This time, voters say ‘yes’ to ‘no’ fluoride

Source: Norfolk Daily News | November 11th, 2009 | By JERRY GUENTHER
Location: United States, Nebraska

WISNER — Voters in this community, which approved adding fluoride to the water system in 2008, voted Tuesday not to add it.

Results of Wisner’s first all-mail election indicated 98 were in favor and 285 were against adding fluoride.

Tuesday was the final day in which voters could mail or return in person their ballots to the Cuming County Courthouse in West Point.

The result was the opposite of last year when 265 voted for it and 242 voted against it.

Part of the reason the issue was considered again was the wording of the original ballot language, which some called confusing.

On Tuesday, the ballot language again asked voters if they wanted to approve an ordinance in favor of not adding fluoride.

By voting yes, voters were saying no to the addition of fluoride. There were 285 ballots cast that said yes, which translates into opposition to fluoride.

By voting no — and 98 people cast ballots that way — voters were saying they were not in favor of the ordinance that would opt Wisner out of the fluoride mandate.

Part of the reason for the confusing language comes from action by the Nebraska Legislature. As a result of a 2008 bill, all Nebraska communities with more than 1,000 residents are required to fluoridate their water supplies unless they vote to opt out.

The other reason Wisner chose to do another vote was the costs of adding the fluoride system was considerably higher than anticipated before the first election.

Wisner is at least the second community in Northeast Nebraska that has voted on fluoride a second time.

Voters in Wakefield in September rejected adding fluoride to their town’s water supply. During that special election, 135 votes were cast in favor of prohibiting fluoride while only eight votes supported it.

The previous November, 255 Wakefield residents voted in favor of adding fluoride while 216 voted against it. In Wakefield as well, many voters said they found the ballot language confusing.

Sixty-five community water systems are fluoridated in Nebraska, including Neligh, Humphrey, Laurel, Osmond, Tilden and West Point.

Thirty-three more purchase their water from the 65 that are fluoridated. And 40 more communities have water that is naturally fluoridated.

Dental studies indicate fluoride can help prevent cavities. Some opponents question the safety of fluoride, saying it can cause cancer or other problems.

Norfolkans will get to vote next May whether they want to add fluoride. On two previous occasions, most recently in 1998, Norfolkans have voted against fluoridation.