Live from the Election Commission

The Ann Arbor city election commission meets today at 3 p.m. in the city council workroom at city hall. The Chronicle plans to present a live audio broadcast of the proceedings, using the embedded live stream player below.

This meeting is a regular event in the election process, and will include the approval of the list of election workers for the Aug. 5, 2014 primary. The three-member commission consists of chief of police John Seto, city attorney Stephen Postema and city clerk Jackie Beaudry.

Possibly of more interest than the approval of the list of election workers will be an update on proceedings in the pending legal dispute over the way that some misprinted ballots might be counted. Nearly 400 misprinted ballots were sent out to Ward 3 absentee voters.

Printed correctly on the ballots were Julie Grand and Samuel McMullen. However, Bob Dascola – who had filed a successful lawsuit against the city in order to be a candidate – was mistakenly left off the ballots. The city has sent replacement ballots to those voters, with a letter of instructions.

Dascola’s position is that votes in the Ward 3 race that are cast on the misprinted ballots should not count. Dascola’s attorney, Tom Wieder, has filed a motion expressing that position – as post-judgment relief in the lawsuit that was won to put Dascola on the ballot in the first place. Michigan’s Secretary of State has filed a motion to allow that state agency to intervene in the lawsuit, and takes the position that such ballots should be counted. See ”Ann Arbor Ballot Dispute: Michigan Wants In” for Chronicle coverage.

At the election commission’s meeting, an update will also likely be provided on the status of the number of potentially disputed ballots. Votes that could be disputed are those that were cast on misprinted ballots for which a replacement ballot has not yet been received. As of yesterday, July 14, that number stood at 12. Of those 12, successful contact had been made with five of the voters, who indicated they’d be submitting a replacement ballot.

Update: Of the 392 voters who were sent misprinted ballots, 131 have returned correctly  printed replacement ballots. Only 10 misprinted ballots have been received that have not been replaced with a properly printed second ballot. That leaves more than 250 voters who received a misprinted ballot, who have not yet returned any ballot. Beaudry reported at the meeting that in elections with high-interest races  (like this year’s mayoral race), the percentage of returned absentee ballots could be 90% or higher. But she noted that often ballots are not returned until very close to the date of the election. So there’s still an outstanding possibility that a voter could send in a misprinted ballot, without sufficient time to rectify the situation. However, Beaudry reported that procedures are in place to ensure that anyone who turns in a misprinted ballot in person on Election Day will be provided a correctly printed ballot. Efforts are ongoing to make contract with those who have sent in a misprinted ballot. The election workers were all approved.

[.mp3 of July 15, 2014 election commission meeting]