Ann Arbor, Michigan, requires candidates for city council to have lived in their ward for at least one year before running, and also to have been a registered voter in the ward for at least a year. On May 20, 2014, Robert Dascola won a U.S. District Court order putting him on the ballot in the August 5 Democratic primary, even though he does not meet the registration requirement and even though all sides agree that the city’s residency-registration requirement would be constitutional if it were enacted at this time.
In the early 1970′s, federal courts inside the Sixth Circuit believed that residency requirements for candidates violate the U.S. Constitution, and struck down many of them, including the Ann Arbor requirements. The city did not appeal these 1971 and 1972 decisions, but left the requirements in the city charter, although they weren’t enforced.
Later, the Sixth Circuit realized that modest duration of residency requirements for candidates do not violate the U.S. Constitution, and started upholding them. Ann Arbor city officials were aware of this change in the law, and started enforcing the city’s requirements again. Dascola filed a federal lawsuit, and U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Zatkoff, a Reagan appointee, ruled on May 20 that because Ann Arbor didn’t appeal the 1971 and 1972 cases against it, its requirements are now void, even though in theory the city is free to re-enact them at any time. Dascola v City of Ann Arbor, eastern district, 2:14cv-11296. See this story.
Now the city and Dascola are arguing over whether absentee ballots that were mailed out without Dascola’s name on them should be counted. All the voters who received a faulty ballot have been sent a second ballot, but the controversy is what to do with voters who return the first, faulty ballot, instead of the second corrected ballot. Thanks to Nicholas Madaj for the link.