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50% Plus One
Tue November 5, 2013
“Majority” Clarified for Macomb Elections
It took a while, but Macomb city code finally defines the word "majority" to mean a number that is more than half.
The meaning of the word was at the center of a dispute over this year’s election in the second ward.
Challenger Steve Wailand appeared to defeat incumbent Kay Hill, 17-to-16, on election day. But County Clerk Gretchen DeJaynes said there should be a run-off because neither candidate received 50% plus one – a standard she said the city had always told her to apply.
The city said the decision rested with the clerk’s office because that office administers elections.
Wailand took the case to court after Tri States Public Radio reported the phrase “50% plus one” appeared nowhere in the city’s municipal code. The code referred to a winner receiving a “majority” of the votes but it failed to define that word.
A judge sided with Wailand and awarded the election to him.
Wailand was sworn into office in May and he joined the rest of the city council in approving the code change this week.