A federal judge has ordered the city of Ann Arbor not to count any votes for 3rd Ward City Council candidates Julie Grand and Sam McMullen on defective ballots that left off Bob Dascola’s name. Dascola, a candidate in the three-way race for the open seat, was left off a batch of absentee ballots that went out to voters this past month due to what the Washtenaw County clerk’s office has described as a series of unfortunate events, including an error by a third-party ballot programmer. U.S. District Judge Lawrence Zatkoff ruled on Tuesday that should any absentee voters turn in the defective ballots without following up and turning in replacement ballots, then any votes in the 3rd Ward race on those defective ballots should not be counted.
“Counting any votes in this election contest cast on inaccurate ballots, plaintiff asserts, would be in violation of this court’s original judgment and constitutes a further denial of plaintiff’s right to equal protection under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,” Zatkoff wrote. “The court agrees.”
… The state took the position that votes for Grand and McMullen should be counted on the defective ballots so those voters were not disenfranchised. “Basically all the arguments made by the Secretary of State were tossed and the judge said let’s get on with this,” Wieder said. The city never took an official position on the matter.