A Voice from the Gallery
I was confronted with a choice when I discovered after I turned in my petition late February, there was an error in the Ward lines between Ward II and Ward III, on March 21, 2016, when I brought the issue to the Alcester City Council the Mayor blew me off and again when I pushed on the issue of Ward boundary error on April 4, 2016, Mayor Glas made the statement, “they (the council) had discussed the issue, Councilwoman Kama Johnson commented they were going to go by the map and Mayor Glas stated, “THAT is what we (the council)decided!” Amazing because there was no agenda item involving that ‘decision’, there was not a motion, nor a second, discussion or vote in open session. It must have happened in one of ‘those‘ illegal executive sessions I have been complaining about. Any vote in executive session is illegal and invalid.
My choice, do I create a dust-up and force the issue or do I sit back, do nothing , allowing voters be denied their right to vote for Ward III council person? If I did nothing to cure an error I knew about, I could strengthen any invalidation of election suit but it would cost some 15 ± households their right to vote and taxpayers for another election. The choice was easy…Do the right thing!
Unfortunately by the time I realized Mayor Glas through his obduracy was going to create an invalid election situation, time was short. I visited the Union County Auditor Friday afternoon, April 8, 2016, in an effort to restore East Park Avenue voters to their rightful ward, Ward III. So the Union County Auditor, with consults with the South Dakota Secretary of State, Alcester City Finance Officer and I believe the Union County Attorney’s office, corrected the Ward III poll list and ultimately sent it to the Alcester City Finance Officer on Monday.
Today I verified East Park Avenue voters had no Ward boundary issues and voted Ward III. I was told by an East Park Avenue resident, the Alcester City Finance Office had contacted them by telephone on Monday validating their Ward III status.
The map? In my FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) I asked for a true copy of the Alcester Municipal Code including the Alcester Property Maintenance Code and I paid for that copy. Later I learned the copy I received was not a true and complete copy of the municipal code because under
(Revised Municipal Ordinances, City of Alcester, South Dakota… Ordinance No. 2014-2, Effective date August 6, 2014)
“The corporate limits of the City are declared to be such as have been legally established and amended by law and ordinances of the City show on the official map on file in the office of the Finance Officer. Such map shall be incorporated in this ordinance (Revised Municipal Ordinances City of Alcester, South Dakota, Ordinance No. 2014-2, Effective date August 6, 2014) by reference and adopted as the official map showing the boundaries and limits of the City. (SDCL 9-3-2, SDCL 9-4-1)”
Folks no such map was attached or included. Please note this section only established corporate city limits and boundaries NOT Wards and voting precincts. Those were established in:
- Ward Three shall include all of that part of the City east of the line defined by Park Avenue, the boundary between lots 32 and 36 of the Morningside Addition, the boundary between Lots 1 and 2 of Block 1 of the Hyden Heights Addition, Hyden Drive and Church Street.”
Chapter 2.02-Wards and Voting Precincts
(Revised Municipal Ordinances, City of Alcester, South Dakota…Ordinance No. 2014-2, Effective date August 6, 2014)
2012 Map sent to the Union County Auditor as a Ward Map
- There is no certification or authentication! Incorrect map which miss-stated the Ward boundaries.
- Precinct maps are usually re-drawn each census year (every 10 years), last census year was 2010.
- 2012 Ward map is not work product of SECOG (South Eastern Council of Government) nor SDML (South Dakota Municipal League) per representatives of SECOG and SDML.
Map source Beacon-Schneider Corporation, http://www.beacon-schneidercorp.com*, boundary marked according to the boundaries set out in Chapter 2.02-Wards and Voting Precincts:
- “2.0201 Wards
- 2.0201 C “Ward Three shall include…east of the line defined by Park Avenue, …boundary between lots 32 and 36 Morningside Add…” Revised Municipal Ordinances…Effective August 6, 2014.
*map purpose is illustrative of ordinance description 2.0201″C” not intended as certification for legal purposes.“
Voters on East Park Avenue came very close to be denied the vote for their Ward III representative because uncertified, erroneous Ward maps were supplied to the Union County Auditor by the city, the Ward map did not match the revised 2014 written ordinance, and erroneous application of 2.0101 Boundaries which dealt specifically with corporate city limits NOT ward boundaries. It was close, too close! There is still the issue of absentee ballot and the question whether someone on East Park Avenue wanted to run for Ward III alderman. Simply because Mayor Glas refused to listen to me, could not apparently read for himself and making a seat-of-the-pants “decision”.