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Election date set in botched Peoria council vote

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A federal judge has set a Nov. 4 primary election date for the Mesquite District seat on the Peoria City Council.

Dr. Ken Krieger is running against Ben Toma and Bridget Binsbacher. If needed, a runoff general election will be held March 10.

U.S. District Judge David Campbell halted the scheduled Aug. 26 primary for the seat after Krieger's name was left off two ballots as a result of a Maricopa County Elections Department printing error.

Krieger sued Aug. 7 after two mail-in ballots failed to include his name.

"We're asking the court to stop this election and have a new one, with Dr. Krieger's name on the ballot, so that he has a fair shake on the election," said Kory Langhoffer, one of Krieger's attorneys, the day the suit was brought.

The first ballot erroneously left off Krieger's name. That issue was resolved after the Maricopa County Elections Office issued an apology and replacement ballots were mailed out.

"It was my personal error," Karen Osborne, Maricopa County Elections director, said.

But there was a problem with the replacement mailing: Krieger's name was once again left off the ballot.

"The print vendor printed the same ballots with the same error and mailed those to the same people who had received them before," Osborne said.

A third ballot was mailed out and did list Krieger's candidacy, but the city council voted to count the two flawed ballots anyway. The county spent $15,000 sending out nearly 8,500 new ballots to add Krieger.

Campbell issued a temporary restraining order Aug. 22 to block the counting of any votes in the race.

The original error came about because of a lawsuit that been filed challenging Krieger's petition signatures. While the suit was in court, his name was removed from the ballot and never returned, even after the issue was resolved.

KTAR's Jim Cross and Bob McClay contributed to this report.

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