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With the election now behind us, I heartily congratulate councilors-elect Chuck Kiester and Joe Batte for their successful, honest and fair campaigns. Also, my thanks to Ted Forcht for his four years of dedicated public service. Ted’s extremely slim margin of loss is testimony to Marco Island’s appreciation as well. Because “congratulations” are an expression of pleasure at someone’s success, I cannot include the third winner, Larry Magel, in my congratulations. I think my fellow Marco Islanders might be curious to know why, so I’ll explain:
Mr. Magel, a resident of Hideaway, is also president of the Condominium Association and a member of the Hideaway Legal Committee and so he was understandably a favorite of the condo community. There were three council seats to be voted on and four candidates. Reportedly, voting members of the condominium community were urged to vote only their man Magel’s name, LEAVING THE OTHER TWO COUNCIL SEAT CHOICES BLANK. This is called “bulleted balloting”, is perfectly legal and is a tactic used by outfits such as Acorn to make a candidate appear more popular than he actually is.
The post-election data from Supervisor of Elections office has shown that approximately 1,400 bulleted ballots came from precincts that are primarily condominium sectors. The bulk of these bulleted ballots contained only Magel’s name instead of three candidates. You can readily see then, that if these 1,400 ballots had properly and correctly contained two other candidate names in addition to Magel’s, the election results would have been significantly different, (do the simple math, Magel ended with only 270 more votes than the lowest candidate). It’s quite likely that Magel would have finished out of the running completely.
Predictably, some will criticize me as a sour-grapes naysayer for bringing out the above facts, but most informed Marco Islanders can understand why a manipulated election result doesn’t deserve congratulations, at least not from me. However, I will compliment Magel advisors, John Arceri, Jack Patterson, Monte Lazarus, Jose Granda, for coming up with a pretty slick, albeit somewhat disingenuous, “winning” strategy. Good luck, Mr. Magel, despite your dubious beginning…and good luck, Marco Island.
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