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.
Peoria City Council candidate Ken Krieger’s name was not on ballots sent out last week to more than 8,500 residents. County officials scrambled to fix their error by mailing out replacement ballots this week, but his name once again was left off. “All I wanted to be was on the ballot,” Krieger said. “I understand that mistakes can be made but when it happens twice, it’s just trampling on a person’s constitutional rights.” The repeated omission has forced Peoria officials to call an emergency City Council meeting today so council members can decide what to do next, Deputy City Clerk Linda Blas said. What that decision could be is unclear. “They’re still discussing (options),” Blas said. “The council will make the decision on what instructions they would like to give to (the) county.” Maricopa County Elections Department Director Karen Osborne said the city has various options, including a third attempt to send out the correct ballot or canceling this month’s primary election for the council district and holding it with the general election Nov. 4.
A Maricopa County Board of Elections’ error where a candidate’s name was left off the ballot is likely to cost taxpayers thousands of dollars. Karen Osbourne, the Maricopa County elections director, estimates it will cost taxpayers about $15,000 to mail out corrected ballots to nearly 8,500 residents. “We had 41 challenges this year, 10 days to hold and decide, and I failed to put him back on the ballot,” said Osbourne. She said she regrets the error.