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Boundary error likely to force special election in Parkville

Posted at 4:18 PM, Apr 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-05 00:36:41-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A mislabeled street will invalidate election results in two Board of Alderman races in Parkville, Missouri, including one that ended in a tie.

The Platte County Board of Elections confirmed to 41 Action News on Thursday that a runoff or legal action will have to take place after 13 voters were given improper ballots during Tuesday’s municipal election.

“We had a street where 13 voters we had being identified in Ward 1 and they were in Ward 3,” Director of Platte County Board of Elections Wendy Flanigan said.

The net result was that those 13 people voted for the wrong prospective aldermen.

Election officials later identified the street at Lime Stone Court.

Philip Wassmer and Weston Coble tied with 187 votes in the Ward 1 election, according to the unofficial results, but there were 13 extra votes cast.

Meanwhile, Douglas Wylie edged Scott Herbig by four votes — 215-211 — in the unofficial Ward 3 results, which is a close enough margin that 13 missing votes could have made a difference.

The Platte County Board of Elections will meet at 1:30 p.m. on Friday to certify the results. It will make a recommendation at that time about whether to conduct a runoff election or allow the courts to handle the fallout from the boundary error, Flanigan said.

But the tainted election results are certain to be nullified.

“The county election staff intends to recommend to the Election Board that it petitions the Courts to order a new election for the Ward 1 and 3 Aldermen positions,” Parkville Mayor Nan Johnston said in an email obtained by 41 Action News.

Board members have been in contact with the candidates as well as Parkville City Manager Joe Parente.

If a new election is approved in Parkville, it could potentially take place in two weeks and cost the area around $6,000 in taxpayer money, Platte County Board of Elections Director Chris Hershey said.

“Once a vote is cast, it’s cast,” he said. “There’s no going back and taking them out and moving votes or anything like that.”

Marlene Thompson, a resident of Lime Stone Court who received a wrong ballot, told 41 Action News Thursday that she was surprised when she saw she would be voting in the Ward 1 alderman race.

“I thought I was in Ward 3 but I got a Ward 1 ballot and went through the whole process,” said Thompson, who voted with her husband on Tuesday. “The first thing I said to him was, ‘Did you have a Ward 1 ballot?’ He said he did. I thought we’re supposed to have Ward 3.”

Moving forward, Thompson hoped officials could figure out a solution to the issue.

“I think it’s unfortunate and I think we should be able to vote again,” she said. “I think they should make it right and I think the taxpayers should not have to pay for it.”

Following the mishap, Hershey told 41 Action News that the Board of Elections was planning on checking over all local records this summer to verify correct ward designations.