By Seth Kinker
Grand Ledge Gazette
GRAND LEDGE – Ward 3 City Councilwoman Sue Roberts wasn’t going to run for re-election — but when nobody stepped up to replace her, she changed her mind, according to Council member Thom Sowle.
Roberts could not be reached for comment, but Sowle said on Wednesday that Roberts would run as a write-in candidate, just as she did when she was re-elected two years ago.
This year Council member Roberts did not circulate a nominating position, nor did anyone else. A few weeks ago she informed Council Members that she would not be a write in candidate.
“I think it is a shame when no one makes an effort to qualify on the ballot,” said Mayor Kalmin Smith. “Knocking on doors and soliciting signatures is a good way for new candidates and incumbents to meet voters and gauge the mood of the community.”
With the deadline already passed to have registered for the ballot in this November’s election, Ward 3 appeared to have no candidate. For the past two elections Ward 3 has had uncontested elections.
In Grand Ledge two Council members are elected for two-year terms from each ward in alternating years, meaning there is a city election every year.
Four years ago, Roberts got the necessary number of signatures on nominating petitions and appeared on the ballot unopposed.
Two years ago she again circulated a nominating position but this time did not qualify because she did not have enough valid signatures. She filed a declaration of intent and was elected as a write-in candidate.
On Fri. Oct. 17th Council member Roberts changed her mind and filed a Declaration of Intent to be a write in candidate for Ward 3 once again.
Although no one else has submitted a Declaration of Intent, the deadline to do so is still a few days away: on Fri. Oct. 24th at 4 p.m.
The lack of candidates on the ballot can sometimes cause confusion, according to Mayor Smith.
“When the only candidate is a write-in candidate, I receive calls from concerned voters wondering why no name was on the ballot and if I will be appointing somebody to what they expect to be a vacancy.”
If no one qualifies to be on the ballot or isn’t elected as a write in candidate the Mayor has the power to appoint someone to the position with the majority vote of the council.
The other council member for Ward 3, Thom Sowle was appointed in such a way by Mayor Smith a few years ago.
“It happened last time I ran, no one was interested,” said Sowle “I’m not sure if people don’t have the time or if there’s a disinterest in city government.”
The City Council does offer chances for the citizens of Grand Ledge to see what’s going on including putting the City Council meetings on TV, the mayor sending out a bi-weekly notice to the community, as well as having a community Facebook page.
This elections this year will be held on November 4th at the Sawdon School Administration Building in Grand Ledge. The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.