There’s a City Council election today in Ann Arbor.
You just wouldn’t know it from the lack of both political activity and interest surrounding the vote.
Only one of the five seats on the council up for election is being contested. The only candidate facing opposition is Council member Stephen Rapundalo (D-Ward 2), who switched his party affiliation from the Republican to Democratic Party before the 2005 council election.
Sabra Briere, a Democrat running unopposed in Ward 1, said the general lack of awareness people have about the election stems from the fact that primary elections held in August nearly replaces the general election.
She said primary elections, combined with the highly democratic sentiment in Ann Arbor, lowers voter turnout and interest in running for City Council positions.
“The primary has become the election because, in the general election, there has been no Republican or independent running in the last few years,” Briere said. “The Republican Party has fallen apart. It’s because they don’t win local or statewide elections, and it’s really hard to be a candidate when you know you aren’t going to win.”
Edwin Amonsen, a write-in candidate running against Rapundalo, said he’s detected a lack of interest on the campaign trail.
“I’ve had a number of people tell me, ‘Now, I didn’t even know there was an election,’ ” Amonsen said.
Voting in the August primaries is difficult for University students because many of them are away from Ann Arbor until fall semester begins in September.
This summer’s Democratic primary featured three contested races.
Briere beat out two opponents. Incumbent City Council member Wendy Woods (D-Ward 5) lost to challenger Mike Anglin, a bed and breakfast owner.