Candidate left off ballot says he'll sue Peoria, Maricopa County

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Peoria City Council candidate Ken Krieger said he is suing Peoria and Maricopa County after his name was left off the early voting ballots twice. (Source: CBS 5 News) Peoria City Council candidate Ken Krieger said he is suing Peoria and Maricopa County after his name was left off the early voting ballots twice. (Source: CBS 5 News)

The Maricopa County elections department said Wednesday it mailed out the wrong ballot for the Peoria City Council race - again.

And as a result, Peoria council candidate Ken Krieger's name didn't appear on either ballot.

On Thursday, Krieger said that he is suing the city of Peoria and Maricopa County for the missteps.

Krieger and his attorney, Kory Langhofer, announced the lawsuit Thursday morning.

"These errors and the government's remedial plan have been and will be highly prejudicial to the Candidate and have irretrievably undermined the validity of the election and require the scheduling of a special election," Krieger said in a draft of the lawsuit.

On Tuesday, CBS 5 News reported that Krieger's name was left off about 8,500 early vote ballots in Peoria. Now, Krieger's name was left off the batch of new ballots just mailed by the county.

County election officials apologized - again - and are trying to figure out what to do next. They said a mistake was made by the print vendor when reprinting.

"I think with anything we look at with government getting into something they don't do in a professional, open and transparent way we can have this type of thing happen," Krieger said. "I choose not to let this happen to anyone else ever again."

Meanwhile, the Peoria City Council called an emergency meeting for 11 a.m. Thursday in the council chambers to discuss the absence of Krieger's name on the ballot and possible courses of action.

Krieger said he isn't giving up on aspirations to represent Peoria's Mesquite District on the council.

"I'm going to make sure people understand that I was left off that ballot, and they should give me a chance and find out who I am," Krieger said.

He's a first-timer running for public office who was missing from more than 8,500 ballots sent out to early voters July 31. His status on the ballot was on hold while a judge reviewed his paperwork. In June, that judge approved Krieger's candidacy.

"I failed to put him back on the ballot," said Maricopa County Director of Elections Karen Osborne. "I regret it very much."

Osborne called it a "personal error" and said to rectify the situation, "we re-mailed a replacement ballot to all of the early voters in that district."

Those replacement ballots will be accompanied by a notice telling voters the prior ballot had incomplete information. However, they won't tell voters whose name, specifically, was left off. Kreiger's attorney said the county isn't going far enough to fix its own mistake.

He wants them "to start over and have a special election where Dr. Krieger's name has a fair chance of being first on the ballot," said Kory Langhofer, Krieger's attorney.

But county officials said there isn't enough time for that.

"One way or the other, the voters are going to be informed about what happens in government and what can happen with elections that is not according to the law and that is not proper," Krieger said.

Replacement ballots sent out early and those available at the polls on Election Day will have Krieger's name on it. The original ballots that did not have his name on them will be counted on the day of the primary. However, names will be cross-checked to ensure no votes were counted twice.

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