(KFYI News) – A candidate for Peoria city council was surprised when early ballots began arriving in mailboxes of voters in the city's Mesquite district. That's because his name wasn't on them.
Dr. Ken Krieger is one of three Republican candidates for the job, but only the names of his two opponents were on the ballots mailed out by the Maricopa County clerk's office.
Krieger's candidacy was challenged by a lawsuit earlier in the year. However, he won the suit and "has every right to be listed as a candidate" on the ballots, according to his attorney, Kory Langhofer.
Langhofer says the county elections dept. has offered to reprint the ballots and mail them out with a notice inside stating that the original ballots had a printing error and that the new ballots should be used instead.
However, he says voters who may have already filled out their ballots may just transfer their votes from the old ballot to the new one without noticing that an extra name had been added to the list of council candidates. He wants voters to be told that a candidate's name was left off the original ballot, and also be told WHICH candidate's name was left off.
Langhofer also says sending new ballots out now would violate federal election law that gives military members based overseas a certain number of days to receive, fill out, and mail back their absentee ballots. It would also violate state law that dictates how many days in-state voters have to receive, fill out, and mail back early ballots.
The attorney insists the county should either extend the deadline for receiving, and counting, ballots from those voters, or else invalidate the city council election for that seat and hold a special election instead.
Langhofer says the county has so far refused the options he outlined.
He also questions what will happen if voters fill out the original, incorrect ballot and mail it back. Will those votes be counted? Or will the entire ballot – including votes for governor, secretary of state, legislature, and other offices – be thrown out, in which case those voters will be disenfranchised from the entire election?
Either way, candidate Krieger insists, "if they don't have an opportunity to vote in the proper voting manner, then their voting rights have been trampled upon."
He says the issue affects approximately 8,500 Republican ballots that were mailed to registered Republican voters and independent voters who requested a Republican ballot.