No surprises in city election

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published November 3, 2015

 Precinct inspector Nancy Johnson assists St. Clair Shores resident Laurel Fowler with turning in her ballot.

Precinct inspector Nancy Johnson assists St. Clair Shores resident Laurel Fowler with turning in her ballot.

Photo by Kristyne Demske

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Despite a warm, sunny election day, turnout was very low for the St. Clair Shores mayoral and city council election Nov. 3.

Results from the St. Clair Shores City Clerk’s office showed that Councilman Ronald Frederick received 4,801 votes, Councilman Chris Vitale received 4,712 votes, resident Peter Accica received 4,435 votes, and there were 72 invalid write-in votes.

Clerk Mary Kotowski said that no resident submitted a declaration of write-in candidacy by the Oct. 24 deadline, making any write-in candidates invalid.

Councilman Anthony Tiseo’s name was on the ballot, however state election law did not allow his votes to be counted, meaning that only three people were eligible for election to the three spots. Tiseo died Oct. 12.

“Michigan election law is real specific,” Roger Cardamone, chief election clerk for Macomb County, told the Sentinel in October. “‘Any votes cast for a deceased candidate are void and shall not be counted.’”

No one filed to run against Mayor Kip Walby for his seat. He received 5,738 votes.

Just 13.5 percent of registered voters cast a ballot Nov. 3, which Kotowski said was low for a city council election.

“We usually have a really good turnout,” she said after the polls closed. “Turnout in a city council election usually has a 20 percent turnout.”

Just seven residents had showed up to vote during the first hour the combined precincts of 18 and 21 at Lake Shore High School were open, according to precinct chair Linda Helfmann.

“Being there’s nothing to vote for ... my opinion is people think it’s a waste of time,” she said. “However, they are elected positions, so we must hold an election to elect them to office.”

She praised the City Clerk’s actions of combining six precincts, hiring fewer poll workers and ordering less ballots to save money on the election, as well.

“She did the minimum she could get away with to save the city the money she could,” Helfmann said.

Voters still made it to the polls on Election Day, saying they felt it was their civic duty.

“I always vote,” said Linda Impullitti. “I feel it’s a freedom and a right and it’s important to express your opinion.”

Laurel Fowler also said she always comes out on Election Day, no matter what.

“I voted for who I wanted to represent me,” she said. “I wish I could have voted for Tony Tiseo.”

Walby, Accica, Frederick and Vitale will be sworn in for the new term at an organizational meeting Nov. 9, when council will also choose the next mayor pro tem.

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