Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Washtenaw election results, 8 November 2005

9. November 2005 • Murph
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Today’s (unofficial) election results are being posted to the County’s website as they’re known, including precinct-level and overall results.

As of this writing, Ann Arbor has 0% of precincts reporting.

Ann Arbor results (unofficial)

  • Ward 1: Robert Johnson (92.81%)
  • Ward 2: Stephen Rapundalo (52.17%)
  • Ward 3: Leigh Greden (66.38%)
  • Ward 4: Marcia Higgins (50.66%)
  • Ward 5: Wendy Woods (94.46%)
  • Millage: No (56.55%)
  • Total of 12158 ballots cast (13.22% turnout)

Other places

The Detroit News also has to-be-updated pages of election results, covering Detroit, Wayne County, Oakland County, Macomb County, and Livingston County. Data on percent of precincts reporting doesn’t seem to be included in these pages.

An article states that, with the first 10% of Detroit precincts reporting, Hendrix leads Kilpatrick 59-41.

  1. As of this hour, WDIV is saying the millage did not pass, but doesn’t have any council races up.
       —Laura F    Nov. 9 '05 - 04:04AM    #
  2. Final numbers should be up shortly. Higgins won by about 50 votes; Rapundalo by about 100.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    Nov. 9 '05 - 04:23AM    #
  3. I’m surprised how much of the vote Birkett took in Ward 3. A lot of protest votes, I assume.
    Maybe one day he will succeed in his campaign to end all laws…

    As I was voting, the only other person at the polling station was ex RC director Tom Weisskopf. “I’d like to see more people,” he sighed, in his characteristicly soothing radio-voice.

    “Well, maybe the emerald ash borer isn’t as pressing a student issue as we thought,” I replied.
       —Ryan Bates    Nov. 9 '05 - 04:40AM    #
  4. Well, geez, Larry, just take all the fun out of obsessively reloading the County Clerk’s webpage, why don’t you!

    Looks like the millage failed by something like 55%. Birkett exceeded his 25% goal.

    Detroit mayoral race still unknown, Hendrix leading with 59%, but only a third of precincts reporting.

    Ferndale has allowed medical marijuana , though the local police say they’ll ignore the vote.
       —Murph.    Nov. 9 '05 - 04:42AM    #
  5. I can’t believe that Marcia Higgins won again. She never seems to know what is going on and its a shame that she will be in office again. It should be the goal of this blog to make her look like a fool. This is just more evidence of how ridiculous the people in the fourth ward are.
       —marcia blows    Nov. 9 '05 - 06:34AM    #
  6. It should be the goal of this blog to make her look like a fool.

    Can’t speak for the rest of the crowd, but I’ve got loftier (and more civil) goals, thanks.
       —Murph.    Nov. 9 '05 - 01:19PM    #
  7. Michigan Daily, Disappointing student turnout blamed on lackluster voter registration efforts

    “South Quadrangle Residence Hall and Bursley Residence Hall remained close to their numbers from 2003, the former jumping from 20 to 22, the latter falling from 32 to 26.”

       —Murph.    Nov. 9 '05 - 01:35PM    #
  8. Dear Murph,

    Thank you for your endorsement. It has been a pleasure to get to know so many of my forth ward neighbors. We worked very hard on this campaign and I am proud of the efforts of my campaign staff and my supporters.

    I wish Marcia the best of luck.


    Jim Hood
       —Jim Hood    Nov. 9 '05 - 02:59PM    #
  9. That Daily story was one of the dumbest I have ever read. Worthy of the Ann Arbor News, even. None of the variations quoted, in my mind, were significant. Students voted in comparable numbers to years past; it was the “permanent” population that didn’t turn out, dropping overall turnout from 21000 to 12000 from two years ago.
       —Dale    Nov. 9 '05 - 04:00PM    #
  10. Brian Tremblay just sent me the numbers from the AU exit poll; each Ward has different vote totals (I interpreted the instructions as placing a vote in each category, but apparently others didn’t?)

    Looked like we managed to pick the winners in all three contested races, but by bigger margins. We reflect Ann Arbor, only more so? :) Stephen Rapundalo looks like the runaway online favorite.

    Results are given in “percent of total (number of votes” format –

    Ward 2:
    * Stephen Rapundalo (Democrat) 84.3% (43)
    * Tom Bourque (Republican) 15.7% (8)

    Ward 3:
    * Leigh Greden (Democrat) 79.6% (39)
    * Rich Birkett (Independent) 20.4% (10)

    Ward 4:
    * Marcia Higgins (Democrat) 52.2% (24)
    * Jim Hood (Republican) 47.8% (22)
       —Murph.    Nov. 9 '05 - 04:25PM    #
  11. Ann Arbor News, Ash tree removal tax fails

    Lou Glorie, a member of a grass-roots organization formed to defeat the millage called Citizens for Honest Government, said the city has money to pay for the removal without taxing residents.

    Glorie pointed to the $11 million in general fund reserves and another $7 million in a municipal facility fund the city is reserving for a city hall addition.

    And the article says the fifth ward was the area of strongest opposition.

    Hmmm. Lou Glorie leading the west side in tax revolt. Does this sound like backlash from the Friends of the Greenbelt for not building parks to anybody else?
       —Murph.    Nov. 9 '05 - 04:42PM    #
  12. She also questioned why the city would have a risk fund but never use it.

    Which is what I was wondering…

    Call it backlash if you like, but Lou makes a lot of sense if you’re feeling objective. Is spending $7 million on an addition prudent when you have a self proclaimed urgent public safety issue to address?
       —FAA    Nov. 9 '05 - 05:10PM    #
  13. The achievement of an impossible dream: an all-Democratic City Council!
       —David Cahill    Nov. 9 '05 - 05:45PM    #
  14. To what end?
       —Dale    Nov. 9 '05 - 06:12PM    #
  15. what are other counties and municipalities
    doing about their tree removal? how are they funding it and dealing with it?
       —j    Nov. 9 '05 - 08:09PM    #
  16. Ann all-Dem Council is good in itself. 8-)
       —David Cahill    Nov. 9 '05 - 10:51PM    #
  17. Since we are now a One Party city where the Republicans now run as Democrats and the August primary is now where the Council race is determined (when students are not around!); any interest in pitching the partisan system and going to a non-partisan system for council and mayor (like most other cities in Michigan)? This would also pitch the primaries in August as well. And while we are at it, we should institute IRV as well also!
       —Chuck    Nov. 10 '05 - 12:33AM    #
  18. David, I have to say that I’m a little less convinced that an all-Democrat Council is self-evidently progressive than you are.

    Though I suppose the Council could gain themselves some progressive cred by putting a charter amendment proposal on the ballot to use instant-runoff voting for local elections. Or to make Council elections non-partisan – after all, if we’re all Dems here, there’s no need to use that cumbersome identifier anymore, right?

    But I’m not going to hold my breath.
       —Murph.    Nov. 10 '05 - 12:34AM    #
  19. (Well, good to see I’m not alone on that one…)
       —Murph.    Nov. 10 '05 - 12:36AM    #
  20. “This would also pitch the primaries in August as well.”

    Cities with non-partisan elections still have primaries when the number of candidates exceeds a predefined number. So you can still have primaries if enough candidates file.
       —John Q.    Nov. 10 '05 - 05:49AM    #
  21. I’d like to see IRV here, but I’m uneasy about trying it out in the midst of a presidential election.

    I have gotten zero response (other than a runaround) from Diebold as to implementing IRV on Accuvote tabulating equipment. Hence, hand counting of ballots may be required if no candidate gets a majority of first choice votes.

    How about making the odd-year council elections non-partisan and IRV, with no primary, while leaving the even year elections alone for now?

    What we really need is some local experience with IRV.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    Nov. 10 '05 - 03:47PM    #
  22. Did Ferndale pass their IRV-for-local-elections ballot proposal?

    Ah, looks like yes, by a 70-30 vote last year. But it also looks like they had too few candidates this year to provide a real test.

    Well, what if Council creates a ballot proposal on the Nov. 06 ballot to enable IRV for local elections in odd years? It would go into effect for the 2007 primaries and generals, which would provide the City and County Clerks to evaluate it for expansion to even years.

    Which would take another amendment, in 2008, to go into effect for 2010…Sigh. So slow. But we’re talking fantasyland anyways, because the local Dems won’t support it, because they don’t want a fair competition – they want control. (Dear local Democrats: prove me wrong.)
       —Murph.    Nov. 10 '05 - 05:57PM    #
  23. For local political purposes, Ferndale might as well be as remote as San Francisco. Nobody in an Ann Arbor debate can say, “remember what happened in the Ferndale mayor’s race last year…”

    If an amendment like the one I suggested were to pass in November 2006, then there wouldn’t be a 2007 primary: the whole city election would be in November 2007, and everyone in town at that point (and in EVERY odd year November from then on) could participate in choosing a council member in every ward. A big plus.

    From then on, the council would be half even-year-Dems, half nonpartisan-IRV. For the next several election cycles, activists and partisans and candidates and voters would have a chance to compare the two systems.

    Maybe it would be decided that the half-this/half-that city council is exactly what Ann Arbor wants, with each method favoring different interests that deserve some representation. Or maybe IRV will be a cumbersome bust. Or maybe IRV will turn out to be so much better that people will want to apply it more broadly.

    Even if IRV is a success, 2008 and 2010 are way too soon to expect some kind of expansion to be enacted.

    And in any case, if IRV is to make the slightest difference for student and tenant representation, there would need to be an enormously larger amount of voter participation than we saw last Tuesday.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    Nov. 10 '05 - 06:29PM    #
  24. So, Larry, you’re talking a little more of a change than I had in mind – you’re thinking that the odd years would be not only IRV and non-partisan but at-large, on a “pick five” kind of basis? How exactly does IRV work in a “pick n” situation – which usually is just a “most votes” and not an “at least x%” situation?

    I’ll note, in response to your last question, that my voting reform interests are more broadly focused than on students. I agree that broader student turnout is more important for representing student interests (and I’ll additionally note that I’m still against redrawing Wards to make a central, “student” ward…).
       —Murph.    Nov. 10 '05 - 08:13PM    #
  25. No, no, I don’t think IRV works well unless it’s a vote-for-one situation. I am not looking to deconstruct the ward system, not at all. I’m suggesting a vote-for-one race in each of five wards.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    Nov. 10 '05 - 08:21PM    #
  26. Larry, I like your idea about leaving the even year elections as-is and implementing non-partisan, ward based IRV in the odd years. This configuration would allow IRV to shine the brightest since more candidates would be running in November when everyone is in town. Although the only benefit I can think of for the all Democratic Council is that it might protect the Dems in this town from suffering blowback when people just get so frigging tired of seeing only Democrats, they’ll vote for anybody else (or more likely, just stay home.) I truly wish you success in convincing the Dems to support a Nov. 2006 ballot proposal on this issue for implementation in Nov. of 2007. BTW, Any chance you could go before Council and propose this in an official capacity? This should improve voter turnout in off-year elections.
       —Chuck    Nov. 10 '05 - 11:38PM    #
  27. Ann Arbor politics is not isolated from state and national politics. As long as the national coalitions form up in the current configuration, I don’t think the local electorate is going to suddenly develop a taste for electing Republicans.

    The practical argument for IRV is that it puts the entire election in the fall when people are here, eliminating the ultra-low-turnout primary. Elections cost roughly $1,200 per precinct (more if the turnout is high), or more than $50,000 citywide per election.

    The downside is that (with current inadequate tabulation systems) hand counting of ballots would probably be needed if none get a majority of first place votes. That would be a major issue in a presidential election, not so much in an odd year city election.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    Nov. 11 '05 - 04:08AM    #
  28. In recent elections, few candidates have run for Ann Arbor city council, and many council members have been elected unopposed. The shortage of candidates is a national phenomenon, affecting both parties, all areas, all levels.

    Possibly IRV could reverse this a little. Otherwise viable candidates who would have trouble winning a partisan primary could appeal directly to voters in the general election.

    HOWEVER, if IRV were TOO successful in increasing the candidate supply, the system could break down.

    IRV ballots I’ve seen only offer the opportunity to name THREE choices, and indeed, it seems silly to go beyond third. Three choices is about the most you can really ask of the typical voter.

    But if first choice votes spread out pretty evenly among 20 or more candidates, and eliminating three didn’t get anyone close to a majority, you start running out of voter choices.

    If all of a voter’s preferences are eliminated, that ballot is “exhausted”; if too many ballots are exhausted, it becomes impossible for any candidate to get a majority of the total vote. One may end up with a majority of the non-exhausted ballots that is a small fraction of the total.

    This is hugely speculative, and it’s unlikely to happen unless there are more than a dozen candidates. However, to reduce the likelihood of such a problem, perhaps the IRV amendment ought to increase the threshold petition requirement for getting on the ballot.

    The current, relatively low petition requirement is only a ticket into a partisan primary. Arguably getting onto the ballot for an IRV general election should require a bit more effort.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    Nov. 11 '05 - 04:31AM    #
  29. Increasing the petition requirement would negate one of the primary benefits of IRV, which is to expand the viable candidate pool beyond the major parties.

    I understand your concern as clerk, Larry. However, I suspect that candidates that can get the current number of required signatures, but who couldn’t get a higher level aren’t likely to be in the running with many candidates. If there are a dozen lousy candidates, none of them would have made the higher requirement to get in the election in the first place. I think it’s a non-issue, especially as long as the major parties still exist (even if we go to nonpartisan ballots.)

    A dozen great candidates? Geez, that would suck, wouldn’t it?
       —Steve Bean    Nov. 11 '05 - 03:00PM    #
  30. Isn’t the nominating petition requirement only a few hundred right now?

    Especially considering that there are people like me out there, who will sign almost any nominating petition put before me for the purpose of expanding the candidate pool, that doesn’t seem like much of a barrier. (I’d probably be more picky if there started to be more of a candidate field…)
       —Murph    Nov. 11 '05 - 05:13PM    #
  31. Hmmm, I thought the petition requirement for council was 50, but it turns out to be 100. Still, I’d say that’s a fairly nominal requirement.

    Given the issues I mentioned above, and the growth of the city, I would urge that an IRV proposal increase it to 200 or even 400.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    Nov. 11 '05 - 08:25PM    #
  32. Larry, the “hugely speculative” issues you mentioned are rationalizations, not reasons. You seem to want to erect a barrier preemptively.

    What’s the requirement for independents and minor party candidates? Do you see some reason why we would have more candidates in the future from those groups when we haven’t up to now?
       —Steve Bean    Nov. 11 '05 - 09:04PM    #
  33. The Dems have control because we won it in fair competition.

    Realistically, the major issues facing the City will now be decided in the Democratic primaries. Any other possibility is just a pipe dream.

    FWIW, I expect a vigorous set of primaries for Council and Mayor next August.
       —David Cahill    Nov. 11 '05 - 11:41PM    #
  34. No, Steve, on the contrary, I’m a subscriber to Ballot Access News, and I cheer along with them when obscenely prohibitive petition requirements for new parties or independent candidates are struck down or repealed in states around the country.

    Back in the 1970s, I fought the McCullough Act, which was intended to remove small parties from Michigan ballots. Though upheld in federal court, ultimately it was thrown out by the state supreme court.

    My concern, quite specific to this situation, is that a dozen or twenty candidates for one position would cause IRV to break down and/or give results which seem utterly wrong. Probably such an outcome would lead to IRV being repealed.

    If I’m going to be involved in developing an IRV proposal, I want to write it in such a way that addresses or avoids potential problems.

    Anyone who can’t gather 200 signatures (either personally or by their supporters) probably has no business running for city council. Indeed, in my political experience, I have found that gathering nominating petition signatures door to door is a great way to campaign.

    Another way to solve the problem, which I do not favor, would be to extend the number of choice positions depending on the number of candidates. E.g., if there are 12 or more candidates, voters are asked to fill their top 4 instead of top 3 choices.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    Nov. 12 '05 - 01:43AM    #
  35. Two seats were decided by a total of 189 votes in the choice between current Republicans and former Republicans, and I don’t think those were even top-notch candidates on the current Republican side. (I thought Jim Hood’s point on development was an excellent one, but the rest of his issues and knowledge were not as strong; Bourque, by the same token, is capable, but not familiar enough with the issues during much of the campaign).

    Local Democrats are fools if they take their eyes off the ball; local Republicans would be fools not to keep contesting races (and starting their candidate development sooner).
       —Dale    Nov. 12 '05 - 02:28AM    #
  36. Larry, I wouldn’t favor more than three choices either.

    I’ll ask again that you rethink the access requirement. Consider those who are disabled (vision, hearing, mobility), single parents, etc. Money is already a barrier to winning, as is time (while sitting on council requires a big time commitment, some candidates run to promote an issue, others may be able to devote more time after winning—for which they’d be compensated—etc.) Meanwhile, major party affiliation is a big advantage. Heightening a barrier to gaining ballot access may result in no significant change from the status quo.

    If you still have reason to believe that 200 signatures is a better requirement than 100, please state your specific reasoning. I’m not necessarily opposed to 200, but I’m concerned that “200 or even 400” could be rounded up to 500 by the time the proposal is put together.

    Also, if you have reason to believe that we will have more crackpots running with IRV in place than we currently do (can you name any, past or present?), please explain your thinking, as you seem to have some concern about that as well. I’m unsuccessfully trying to imagine the bad outcome you foresee. I do appreciate—and share—your concerns about the possibility of repeal, though.

    Another way to look at this is to examine the record of IRV in other cities and smaller jurisdictions. I haven’t heard of any problems beyond the theoretical.
       —Steve Bean    Nov. 12 '05 - 02:56AM    #
  37. Local Dems don’t plan to take their eyes off the ball. Local Repubs are, of course, fools. 8-)
       —David Cahill    Nov. 12 '05 - 03:10AM    #
  38. David-

    How will there be a Democratic primary for Mayor? I assume Hieftje is running for re-election.
       —Curious George    Nov. 12 '05 - 03:38PM    #
  39. Yes, I think Hieftje is running for re-election. If so, that would be for his fourth term.

    Hieftje himself told people after one of the First Ward meetings that he expected Bill Hanson, who was a candidate to fill Kim Groome’s vacancy, to run against him for mayor. He thought that the themes Hanson was expressing were being tried out for a mayor’s race.

    The procedure for becoming a candidate in the August Democratic primary is childishly simple – almost trivial. A candidate has to gather a small amount of signatures (100 or 200) on a nominating petition. That’s it.

    So you see how open the political process really is.
       —David Cahill    Nov. 12 '05 - 07:55PM    #
  40. One more thing on open political participation – the Second Ward Democratic Primary last August shows that students are not isolated from the local political process, and that they can win without any of the bizarre and hopeless changes of the political system discussed above.

    Eugene Kang, a student who was a political unknown, came within a relative handful of votes of winning the primary. In fact, he took more precincts (including precincts not predominately student) than the winner did.

    If that campaign had been slightly different, then we would have a student being sworn in to a Council seat on November 21.
       —David Cahill    Nov. 13 '05 - 02:26PM    #
  41. Interesting point David. I agree with you that Kang could’ve won the primary. But if he had, I do not believe he would be sworn in as the new councilmember. Burke came close to beating Rapundalo. The reason Rapundalo won is because swing voters in is neighborhood came out in droves to vote for him. They would not have supported Kang, and so Burke would have easily defeated Kang.
       —Curious George    Nov. 13 '05 - 02:40PM    #
  42. Well, whatever Kang might have lost in some precincts, he could have made up if the students in the Second Ward came out and voted for him.
       —David Cahill    Nov. 13 '05 - 09:05PM    #
  43. In 3. Ryan Bates writes of me “Maybe one day he will succeed in his campaign to end all laws…” Since I’ve never said I wanted to end all laws, I assume he came to this conclusion because my previous candidacies as a Libertarian Party candidate. Which is precisely why I think running as an independent frees oneself of such misconceptions. My real goal to reduce the coercive nature of government, not abolish it.

       —Rich Birkett    Sep. 3 '06 - 09:51AM    #