New ballots for Peoria’s Mesquite District Council race have been sent out with the names of all three candidates, according to a spokeswoman for the city. The ballots should arrive to all 16,000 registered voters in the district by Saturday or Monday. Election ballot errors omitting the name of a candidate in the Peoria Mesquite District not once, but twice, resulted in a lawsuit and left Peoria officials scrambling, trying to figure out how to remedy the situation. In a special meeting by the Peoria City Council Thursday, the council recommended in a 3-2 vote, a combination of two options to try and rectify the problem: 1. Mail ballots to all registered voters in the Mesquite District and, 2. Have remote voting locations. Earlier in the day, Dr. Ken Krieger, the candidate whose name was omitted from the ballots, held a news conference, along with his attorneys outside the Maricopa County Elections offices in Phoenix, who said they filed a suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona to stop the election in the Mesquite District because Peoria doesn’t have the authority to do it and it must be ordered by a judge.
One of the points brought up for the suit is the 45-day deadline for returning military and overseas ballots, plus the federal constitutional guarantee of due process that guarantees equal protection.
The Peoria Council convened into executive session soon after calling the special meeting in order to try and find a solution for the unprecedented issue. They then came back to the council chambers to publicly discuss the options available.
The responsibility for the name omissions on the election ballots ultimately lies with the Maricopa County Elections Department. Peoria City Manager Carl Swenson said during the special meeting that in a letter from Maricopa County Manager Tom Manos, Manos said it is the responsibility of the county, deeply regret the error, and the supervisors will work to support whatever option(s) the city chooses. Any costs incurred will be paid for by the county.