Special Arizona Election After Ballot Mishap
PHOENIX (CN) - After a candidate for city council in Peoria, Ariz., was twice left off the ballot, a federal judge has found that a special election is necessary.
Ken Krieger, a Republican, sued the city of Peoria and Maricopa County earlier this month, seeking to stop the election after his name was first left off the early voting ballot through a mistake by the Maricopa County Department of Elections, and then again on a replacement ballot through an error by the printing vendor.
U.S. District Judge David Campbell granted Krieger a restraining order Friday to stop the Aug. 26 election for Peoria City Council. A special election will be held instead.
Krieger had taken issue with the Peoria City Council's decision to mail a third ballot to voters, but accept any of the misprinted ballots if voters submitted them.
Though Campbell deemed the city's "fundamentally flawed," he found no wrongdoing.
"Under that decision, some portion of the voters will make choices in the primary election with only the names of Krieger's two opponents before them," Campbell wrote. "Unfortunately, this prospect is not eliminated by the remedial measures defendants adopted."
While the third ballot included an instruction for voters, it was unclear, according to the ruling.
"It says nothing about the error in the earlier ballots voters have received," Campbell wrote. "The notice then tells voters that their votes on the first and second ballots will be counted, contradicting the statement that the third ballot must be used."
Campbell found that voters may not open or read the third mailing, and that its timing was not ideal because August is "prime vacation time in the desert."
Each of these scenarios is plausible, Campbell said.
"In every one of them, voters will cast their votes on the basis of an incomplete list of candidates and plaintiff Krieger will lose his right to be considered for their votes," he wrote.