The candidates for alderman in Macomb’s fifth ward agree changes should be made to the city’s election process. But they have differing views of what should be done.
Incumbents Tim Lobdell and Clay Hinderliter were asked during the League of Women Voters candidates forum about the disputed outcome of the second ward contest.
Lobdell said the city needs to clarify its code.
“Logically speaking, I think it was intended to be that a two person race is going to be decided, and a race that has three or more people -- that’s where the 50% plus one concept came in,” Lobdell said.
Hinderliter said the city could avoid such controversies by doing away with the February election.
“Go to a general election in April and if there are multiple candidates, the top vote-getter wins. I think that’s a solution that we are looking at at this point in time,” Hinderliter said.
Lobdell countered by saying there is value in holding an election for city issues only. Hinderliter said there is some merit to that point, but he questioned whether it’s worth the cost given the extremely low voter turnout.
Lobdell and Hinderliter are vying for the seat in the city’s new fifth ward. The election is April 9.
Macomb voters will also be asked to choose between incumbent Kay Hill and challenger Steve Wailand in the city’s second ward. Wailand appeared to have won the contest in the February general election, 17-to-16, but County Clerk Gretchen DeJaynes ruled Wailand failed to get 50% of the vote plus one and said there should be a run-off election.
DeJaynes said she was administering the election the way the city told her to, but the city code does not contain any wording about “50% plus one.” It simply states the candidate with the majority of votes should win.
Wailand is receiving legal assistance from the Liberty Justice Center as he challenges DeJaynes’ ruling.
Wailand did not attend the LoWV forum. Hill attended and made a brief statement but she did not address the disputed election.