[pol] write-in capability can be important


Write-In Candidate Holds Slight Lead For Mayor

A write-in candidate turned in a strong showing in the San Diego mayor's race, but voters won't know for sure who won right away.

With 100 percent of precincts counted, the write-in candidate had 35 percent. The vast majority of those votes were expected to be cast for Councilwoman Donna Frye, a surf-shop owner who launched her write-in bid only five weeks before the election.

Election officials will resume manual counting of write-in votes in the mayor's race later Wednesday, county spokeswoman Lesley Kirk said. There are approximately 130,000 Absentee/Provisional ballots still to be counted, according to officials.

Dick Murphy, the incumbent, trails by only a few thousand votes, with 34 percent. Ron Roberts, a San Diego County supervisor who is making his third bid for mayor, had 30 percent.

"We're trending upwards!" Frye told a jubilant crowd of supporters Tuesday night.

She also thanked them repeatedly.

"They said we finally have someone to vote for," Frye said. "Every one of you dedicated yourselves and said it was time for a change. We need open government. We need an elected official who will tell us the truth."

It may take until Nov. 30 to declare a winner if the race is tight, said Sally McPherson, San Diego County's registrar of voters. The inauguration is Dec. 6.

The race was shaping up as a drab rematch of the 2000 contest between Murphy and Roberts until Frye, a surf-shop owner often on the losing side of lopsided City Council votes, jumped in.

A deepening scandal surrounding the city's underfunded pension plan has dominated, at times, almost overshadowed, the campaign. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (news - web sites) and Justice Department (news - web sites) are investigating San Diego's financial practices amid questions over whether bad news was hidden from investors and taxpayers.

Frye, 52, was the lone dissenter in a 2002 council vote to enhance retirement benefits -- one that Murphy said he regretted.

The race was nonpartisan, though Murphy and Roberts are Republican. Frye is a Democrat.




Frye Denounces Lawsuit Challenging Her Candidacy

Tue Nov 9, 8:19 PM ET Local - KGTV TheSanDiegoChannel.com

A boisterous crowd numbering in the hundreds joined write-in mayoral candidate Donna Frye outside San Diego City Hall Tuesday to denounce a lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of the councilwoman's candidacy.

"The fact that this is being challenged has nothing do with the law," Frye said. "It has to do with the fact that I will be the next mayor of San Diego."

The suit, filed Monday in San Diego County Superior Court by business lawyer John Howard, asserts that the City Charter does not allow for write-in candidates in general elections and seeks an injunction halting vote counting by the Registrar of Voters office.

(hmmm, didn't anybody proof read the ballots? hey! what's this write-in slot doing on the ballot??)

To date, 45,086 of the 140,723 write-in votes have been certified for Frye, with an estimated 124,000 absentee and provisional ballots still to be counted, according to the registrar's office.

The majority of the write-in votes still to be certified are expected to go to Frye, who has an estimated 35 percent of the vote to incumbent Dick Murphy's 34 percent and county Supervisor Ron Roberts' 31 percent.

At issue in Howard's lawsuit is a discrepancy between the City Charter, which does not allow for write-in candidates in general elections, and the Municipal Code, which does.

Howard, a Roberts supporter, wants a judge to order a runoff election between Roberts and Murphy. He is a backer of Proposition F, San Diego's so-called "strong-mayor" measure, which appears to have narrowly been passed by voters.

Frye, 52, flanked by her husband, famed surfer Skip Frye, and Sen. Denise Ducheny, D-San Diego, thanked her supporters amid a crowd of about 200 that chanted "Count Our Vote!" outside City Hall.

"If the vote count looked a little different than it does today, we wouldn't have a lawsuit," Ducheny said.

Frye called the lawsuit "frivolous," saying it amounted to a "pathetic attempt to stop the democratic process." She vowed to fight any challenge to the legitimacy of her candidacy.

"I will fight any attempt to undermine the will of the voters," she said.

Murphy said he opposed the lawsuit, calling it a "bad idea."

(now isn't this refreshing?!)

"I support letting the Registrar of Voters complete counting the vote and oppose any attempt to prevent the registrar from doing her job," Murphy said.

He said any legal action at this point was premature.

"I'd like to see the vote be completed and it would show me the winner," Murphy said.

Roberts' campaign said Monday he is not considering a lawsuit, but won't discourage a voter from doing so.

Registrar of Voters Sally McPherson has until Nov. 30 to certify the election. The new mayor is set to take office officially in early December.

after this time, i'd fully support a federal law to quash any and all comments from candidates and their handlers from election day until end-of-vote-count day.


Has No Life - Lives on TB
All over CNN now.


Dick Murphy 146,676 34%
Ron Roberts 132,771 30%
Write-in Candidate 149,147 34% (frye)
Precincts Reporting - 843 out of 843 - 100%

Shrinking Lead May Spell Doom For Frye
Narrow Race May Require Recount

POSTED: 5:17 pm PST November 11, 2004
UPDATED: 6:11 pm PST November 11, 2004
SAN DIEGO -- Although it's unknown if the San Diego mayor's race outcome may be decided in court next week, one thing is certain -- the race is getting tighter every day.

The latest count from the registrar's office shows that write-in votes -- most of which have been cast for City Councilwoman Donna Frye, are 34.8 percent of the total cast. Meanwhile, incumbent Mayor Dick Murphy has moved up to 34.2 percent, and County Supervisor Ron Roberts is just shy of 31 percent.

A week ago, write-in votes -- which have apparently been cast for Frye -- led Murphy by 4,203 votes. By Thursday, that gap had shrunk to 2,471.

"If we look at the numbers that we have [Thursday], we project that if 1 percent of those write-in votes are not for her, she can still win," said John Nienstedt of Competitive Edge Research & Communication. "But again, it's so close that we're going to have to have a recount. I think that's almost mandatory in a situation like this."

With a 99 percent validity rate, Nienstedt projects that Frye wins the election by 361 votes. At 98.7 percent, Murphy takes the race by 112 votes.

Workers continued to count ballots on Veterans Day, despite the holiday. About 65,000 absentee and provisional ballots remain to be examined -- nearly 24,000 were reviewed Wednesday. If votes continue to be tallied at the current pace, the totals could be complete on Saturday.

If not, the count will be suspended on Sunday and continue Monday, when a lawsuit challenging Frye's write-in candidacy is scheduled for a hearing.

County Registrar Sally McPherson has added staff to handle the workload, with processing under way from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eleven two-member teams were on duty Thursday when NBC 7/39 looked in on the counting.

Although the vast majority of write-ins were for Frye, NBC 7/39 did note the occasional vote for Ralph Nader and, at one point, a ballot for SpongeBob SquarePants. Although observers for Frye and Murphy are watching the workers tabulate the votes and lawyers are mobilizing for a Monday court hearing on a challenge to the write-in votes, McPherson says none of it is affecting the work being done in her office

"You know, I want to do it right, not fast," said McPherson. "I want our people to be correct as we count these ballots. I think they're doing a fantastic job in getting through the work that we've got."

Once all the ballots are counted, it will still take some time to verify all the write-in votes.