Governments' Lighter Side

Tales from Election Day

Snafus, missteps and weird goings-on.

The elections are over — finally. Time to assess some of the more unusual moments of the grand electoral process.

A really bad day. That’s how Election Day turned out for one mayoral candidate in Paso Robles, Calif. He lost the election, sure, but he also got arrested and jailed that same day, according to The Tribune of San Luis Obispo.

Police nabbed the write-in candidate on several charges including felonies for making criminal threats and brandishing a firearm, as well as misdemeanors for driving under the influence and violating a court order. The candidate wound up Election Day in the county jail held on a $1.1 million bail. Meanwhile, the incumbent mayor sailed to victory with 86 percent of the vote.

Along came a spider. In tiny Rehoboth, Mass., the election was held up by the thinnest excuse — a spider web. That’s what officials say fouled up one of the town’s aging voting machines, according to The Sun Chronicle.

The spider web apparently prevented the machine’s scanner from counting ballots. So poll workers labored through the night to count 800 ballots by hand, with results not announced until late the next day. The town clerk said she’s been trying to get the old voting machines replaced for several years. Maybe next year.

Water, water everywhere. There was not a single vote cast in Minneapolis’ Ward 10, Precinct 3B. Maybe that’s because Precinct 3B — all of it — is in the middle of a big lake, according to the Star Tribune.

A newly redistricted precinct map shows 3B is in Lake Calhoun, the biggest lake in Minneapolis. The city clerk said there was a “programming error” with the mapping software when new ward boundary lines were drawn. No voters are registered in the watery precinct, so no one was disenfranchised — except maybe a few fish.

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What's Governments' Lighter Side?

It is an irreverent take on local and state government news.


Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...
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