Municipal Clerk Barbara Gruenstein has called for it. Newly elected Assembly Chairman Ernie Hall says it's going to happen. Disenfranchised or at least disenchanted voters have demanded it. It's time for the Assembly to hire an independent investigator to figure out what went wrong at the April 3 municipal election, who was responsible and what to do about it.
For all the post-election anger and accusations, it still appears likely that the results will stand. If the final count indicates that's the case, then the Assembly should certify the election.
Some might then ask why hire an independent investigator?
We need an independent, trusted look at this election because too much went wrong. We need an independent look because the clerk's office has too much of a stake in the outcome and the municipal attorney serves at the pleasure of the mayor, who won this election. An independent investigation will take self-interest and doubt out of the process.
The right to vote is fundamental. Clearly, some citizens were denied that right or at least mightily inconvenienced in trying to exercise it. That's not the way elections are supposed to work. Voting should be as clear and easy an exercise as we can make it -- not necessarily the decisions, but the process.
An investigation should look across the board at how the city's election workers and supervisors performed and what they had to cope with, what voters were told, what directions came from the top and what influence any outside forces had on election day. And we need clear policies -- or ordinances if necessary -- so this doesn't happen again.
What's clear from what we've learned so far is that too many precincts had problems that made it hard for people to vote. Imagine the storm if this had been a close election.
Glitches are common on election days; Accuvote machines balk; questions arise over voter qualifications; some voters don't know the rules and even some election workers can be confused about them. But this election had more than its share of troubles, and as a result, in some cases voters couldn't cast ballots.
We need to know exactly how and why, from an independent source.
BOTTOM LINE: Assembly should hire an independent review of the April 3 election.