The Mid City West Community Council will not seat its new board until June because the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (EmpowerLA) did not finalize results until Tuesday after a board member challenged the election process.
EmpowerLA dismissed the challenge. The vote count indicated that Charles Lindenblatt lost his At-Large seat this election, but he challenged the results claiming that the language on the ballots caused voters, possibly including supporters, to damage his chances of being re-elected.
The ballot read, “vote for [X],” with X as the number of seats that are open in each category. Lindenblatt said the ballot should have read “vote for up to [X]” or “vote for no more than [X].”
Further, when members voted for fewer candidates than seats available, the program indicated that more votes were allowed.
Lindenblatt said this “significantly encouraged those voters who had only intended to vote for one or two [candidates], in many cases, to vote for the maximum number of candidates, likely including candidates that they did not know. The net effect of this is that many voters wound up hurting the chances of the very people that they were there to support.”
Lindenblatt received 93 votes, 18 fewer than the At-Large candidate who had the least number of qualified to win the election.
“It is certainly feasible that at least 18 voters in the At Large category had only intended to vote for one or two or a few, candidates,” Lindenblatt said in his challenge report.
Lindenblatt called for either a re-election, or to vacate the results of the At Large category, and hold an EmpowerLA-administered selection to fill them.
All challenges are reviewed by EmpowerLA’s Independent Election Administration (IEA) to determine if they meet the challenge criteria and if the candidate proved that it made a difference in the results. The IEA announced Tuesday that the challenge did not meet the criteria and was dismissed.
Lindenblatt said he still believes incorrect ballots can be challenged.
“It’s unfortunate because I think it’s a valid challenge,” he said.
Except for a six-month hiatus, Lindenblatt had been on MCWCC’s board since 2003. He said he does not know yet if he will run in the next election, or apply to be appointed to a seat if one opens.
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