By Charles Sercombe
Once again, absentee ballots played a significant role in last Tuesday’s city council election.
For the two top vote-getters, Councilmember Mohammed Hassan and newcomer Muhtasin Sadman, it proved to be the winning ticket.
Both outdistanced their competitors by getting their supporters to vote early, via absentee ballots. Hassan, who won re-election, garnered 1,035 votes by absentee, while Sadman came in with slightly less at 1,004.
On election day, Hassan received 583 in-person votes, and Sadman got 234 votes that day. All candidates, except for Nasr Hussain, received more support via absentee ballots.
The next highest vote-getter, Councilmember Mohammed Alsomiri, attracted 825 absentee ballots.
The candidate with the fewest, and who was the most active on social media, was Hussain, who had 425 absentee ballots.
Absentee ballots proved to be the death knell for the Hamtramck Public School District, which failed — for the second time — to win voter approval for a property tax millage renewal.
That went down to defeat with 1,595 absentee ballots and, overall, lost by 70 percent of the votes cast.
The use of, and now standard reliance on, getting voters to vote early with absentee ballots calls up suspicions of possible ballot harvesting – the act of having people fill out their ballot and then the candidate in question gathering them up and dropping them off at city hall.
That practice is illegal, as candidates can only handle absentee ballots of their immediate family members (or those of unrelated persons they reside with).
According to sources, Councilmember Nayeem Choudhury, who unexpectedly lost his bid for re-election, told the city clerk’s office that 200 absentee ballots had not been counted.
Asked why he made this claim, Choudhury told The Review:
“I don’t know, the whole community is shocked and saddened that they voted for me by absentee ballots — over a thousand. They don’t know why I lost against a candidate that came in fifth place in the primary.”
Nothing came of Choudhury’s accusation.
One can’t blame Choudhury for believing something was amiss. In the August Primary Election, he was the top vote-getter but, by last week’s election he fell to fifth place – an unheard of drop off for a top contender.
And as Choudhury pointed out, Sadman rose from fifth place in the primary election to the number two spot in the Nov. 7 election.
Posted Nov. 17, 2023