Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Late-breaking write-in news: 22nd Circuit Court, 7th District Representative

7. November 2006 • Murph
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A few write-in campaigns were brought to my attention today.

22nd Circuit Court

First, reader Srini asks,

There are usually no one opposing any incumbent judge in Washtenaw county. What is the reason for it? There is a write in candidate for 22nd Circuit court judge position. Is the new media (meaning web) going to help these write in candidates?

www.a2buzz.org has details about this election.

What are arborupdate readers’ thoughts on this subject.

7th Congressional District

Second, my mother just now asked me what I knew about US Rep Joe Schwarz’ status as a write-in candidate for the 7th Congressional District. (Answer: nothing.) Widely respected moderate Republican Schwarz lost a primary upset to conservative Tim Walberg, who attacked Schwarz’ bipartisan record as “too liberal”. With many uninspired by Walberg’s Democratic opponent, Sharon Renier, the Ann Arbor News has refused to endorse either candidate in that race, and the DetNews skipped Walberg for the longshot Libertarian candidate, Hutchinson. Schwarz was convinced by supporters to file a write-in application on Friday so that their votes would be counted.



  1. I always wish to know about the write-in candidates when there’s unopposed candidates. Judicial candidates are tough to research because they can’t state what their stances are on issues before a ruling, and the more local the judge the less likely anyone reported on their track record.

    However, the People Against Corruption (25853 Mulberry Ln, Novi, MI 48374) making the allegations about Connor seem weird to me. Why would an organization outside of Washtenaw County form to oppose a Washtenaw county judge? Patricia Gravel-Henkel, the write-in candidate, sounds very nice, but other than “I’ll be a nice judge”, I don’t see anything about which way her bias falls. Is she liberal? Is Connor conservative? I see she has some invovlvement in
    Ann Arbor Greenhills school. What does that mean?


       —EdgeWise    Nov. 7 '06 - 06:18PM    #
  2. This seems as good a place as any to ask the question a reader referred me to: why do we vote on Tuesday? A number of voting reforms are under consideration and it seems that some, like voting by mail, are gaining steam. What about the very day we vote?


       —Dale    Nov. 7 '06 - 08:00PM    #
  3. Dale, regarding voting on Tuesday, here’s something you may find interesting.

    And a more complete answer is here.


       —Parking Structure Dude!    Nov. 7 '06 - 08:52PM    #
  4. I am strongly, strongly opposed to the idea of making Election Day a holiday or moving the election to the weekend. That would depress turnout, not increase it.

    The first Tuesday after the first Monday in November is arbitrary as hell, sure, but everybody knows it. Sometimes tradition works to keep things simple and straightforward. With the number of positions we elect and issues we vote on, the voting process is already enormously complicated. Let’s NOT mess around with the date.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Nov. 7 '06 - 09:09PM    #
  5. larry, what do you think about early voting (which i understand to be opening the polling sites days or weeks in advance of election day)?


       —peter honeyman    Nov. 7 '06 - 09:31PM    #
  6. Larry Kestenbaum wrote: “With the number of positions we elect and issues we vote on, the voting process is already enormously complicated.”

    In that context, how do you feel about the ‘straight-ticket’ option provided at the top of the optical scan ballot?

    One thought is that it provides a means of simplifying an enormously complicated ‘process’ by allowing voters to express solidarity with a general set of values without requiring that voter to engage in the onerous process of filling in a bunch of extra bubbles. A different thought is that it allows people to participate in elections and have an impact on them—and wear that ‘I voted’ sticker proudly—without so much as bothering to familiarize themselves with the merits of any particular individual candidates.

    I would submit that the ‘process’ of voting is pretty damn simple and straightforward. What’s complicated is not the process of voting, it’s participating in that whole ‘democracy’ thing that’s supposed to happen before entering the voting booth.


       —HD    Nov. 7 '06 - 09:56PM    #
  7. hd, you seem to be objecting to the fact that the straight ticket ensures that a voter casts a ballot in each (partisan) contest.

    are you suggesting that people should abstain in, say, the MSU trustee election unless they have taken the time to consider the individual platforms of all the candidates? (that’s an interesting one, btw—george perles, former MSU football coach (!) is running for his first public office (on the democratic ticket) ... and then there’s the disbarred libertarian who thinks MSU’s mission should be to lobby lansing to allow non-lawyers to practice law … hmm on that one.)

    it seems to me that for people who believe that political parties actually stand for something, voting the party ticket is a sound strategy for getting the right people elected.

    furthermore, the “straight ticket” box is also used to vote a split ticket, with the designated party serving as the default in races where the voter does not wish to cross over.

    or perhaps your objection to the straight ticket option is really a distaste for partisan contests?


       —peter honeyman    Nov. 8 '06 - 12:07AM    #
  8. “are you suggesting that people should abstain in, say, the MSU trustee election unless they have taken the time to consider the individual platforms of all the candidates?”

    No, I’m not suggesting that people abstain from voting in any race … and I think people can vote for each race based on some numerological formula determined by the ratio of consonants and vowels in candidates’ names for all I care. Or if voters want some simpler algorithm—like check the candidate with the ‘D’ in front—that’s fine, too, ... and even if I didn’t think it’s fine, it’s not up to the me. Still I think it’s a better democracy if people inform themselves and discuss with others before voting on the level of individual candidates not just parties. So I think that providing a ‘straight ticket’ option is a pre-emptive surrender to voter complacency to vote on purely partisan grounds.

    “it seems to me that for people who believe that political parties actually stand for something, voting the party ticket is a sound strategy for getting the right people elected.”

    I don’t disagree and would suggest that such people—and I might well be one of them sometimes—can execute this strategy simply enough by looking for the ‘D’ or the ‘R’ or the ‘G’ or whatever, next to each candidate and checking the appropriate box.

    “or perhaps your objection to the straight ticket option is really a distaste for partisan contests?”

    It’s a distaste for the extra re-inforcement and reminder from the ballot itself that a purely partisan voting strategy is a possible (and indeed sometimes reasonable) way of approaching the franchise. Ballots in a partisan election already provide for the possibility of such a strategy—in the form of the party labels for each candidate. We don’t need an extra push.


       —HD    Nov. 8 '06 - 01:31AM    #
  9. In [8] I wrote: ”... it’s not up to the me.”

    And just remember, it’s not up to the you, either.


       —HD    Nov. 8 '06 - 01:36AM    #
  10. I’m still bitter we didn’t get Joe as governor when he ran. It’s unfortunate he only got one term in Washington. He has always seemed like a man who was smart and had faith that a well-informed government could do things the right way.

    I don’t know how this write-in campaign will go, but I hope he finds a positive way to be involved.


       —MomInPittsfield    Nov. 8 '06 - 04:30AM    #
  11. Gotta go with HD on this one (straight ticket). It’s the bane of real democracy here in Michigan, since so many voters in polarized races just show up and (metaphorically) pull the lever for their party, not for any particular candidates. In many other states around the country where Green Parties are more rudimentary than here in Michigan, candidates actually poll three times our percentages or more (some actually win! Horrors!!).

    Interestingly, those university board races are where you see people either trying to ‘even the playing field’ for third parties or are assuaging their consciences for holding their noses and voting for the ‘lesser of two evils’, since the university boards are “safe” to vote that way.

    Of course, I’m not bitter that my opponent got 3,242 ‘free’ votes from the straight ticket in the City Council race – I still only got 28.4% of the vote if you take out the straight ticket votes. But very few of those straight ticket voters, I would suspect, knew anything about Kunselman or his views. The 1,193 people who voted for me probably did know about me, since I walked most of my ward and did a mailing to many others that I just couldn’t reach in time, so they had something in front of them to go by.

    Ah, for the long coattails of a Jennifer Granholm…


       —Pete Schermerhorn    Nov. 9 '06 - 11:08PM    #
  12. i used to vote for third party candidates in the MSU and WSU trustee races—well, considering the party, maybe it was fifth or sixth party—but somehow i got it in my head that my vote was better spent on a pretty good candidate who might actually get elected than on a really great candidate who had no chance whatsoever.

    the “lesser of two evils” argument carries little weight with me. i’ll grant that one of the major candidates is often the personification of evil. like, i smell sulfur. but evil vs. asshat is an easy choice. for me, anyway.


       —peter honeyman    Nov. 10 '06 - 05:38AM    #