A 2-Month Long Recount Overturns Famous Democrat Victory “Ballots Popping All Over The Floor”
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Anson Williams is not the first famous actor to run for political office, but his recent involvement in the November mayoral election in Ojai, CA, is making headlines.
Williams, who played Warren “Potsie” Weber on the top-rated hit show “Happy Days” in the 1970s, was declared the winner, beating the incumbent mayor Democrat Betsy Stix.
Ojai is a small community with less than 4,000 votes cast in the election. Following the initial count, Weber had 100 more votes than Stix.
Stix released a statement congratulating the “Happy Days” actor, a self-described moderate Democrat.
The Wrap, The Essential Source for Entertainment Insiders, described the small California community this way:
“This is Ojai, where local politics are as volatile as the recent weather. And as Williams and his supporters were about to discover, there’s a lot more going on in this quirky little spa town than hot stone massages and hikes around the Topatopa Mountains.”
“Indeed, beneath its mellow surface, Ojai turns out to be a teeming cauldron of petty political intrigue, wacky electoral dysfunction, bitter ideological turf wars, shady self-dealing, and shadowy consultants manipulating the levers of power at the highest levels of City Hall. Think ‘Peyton Place,’ as directed by Barry Levinson. Or maybe Mel Brooks.”
In speaking with the reporter from The Wrap, Williams snickered as he recalled election day. He said, “I went to where they were actually counting the votes, and it was hysterical.”
“They have these machines that slice open the envelopes and drop the ballots into a plastic box. And while I’m watching, I’m seeing ballots popping out of the box onto the floor,” he continued.
Williams seemed to be flabbergasted about the whole thing. He said,
“I’m like, ‘There’s one popping out. There’s two popping out.’ Then some person comes in, scoops them up, and puts them all back into the box. I mean, we put people on the moon 50-some years ago, and we’ve got ballots popping all over the floor.”
Even in a small town like Ojai, the election process is compromised. The Wrap summed it up:
“For reasons that might appear self-evident from the above, it took county officials three weeks to finish tabulating the Ojai votes, during which Williams watched as his 100-vote lead slowly popped away to nothing. Once all the ballots were finally counted, officials noticed that there were more votes cast in the election than there were actual voters. It took another couple of weeks to figure out that they had double-counted some ballots. They also discovered that at least one vote may have been cast by a resident of Germany, which would obviously be illegal.”
A local artist and Williams supporter, who, in a plot twist, is Stix’s ex-boyfriend, pushed for and paid for a recount.
In the end, the vote count wasn’t in Williams’ favor. He lost the race by 42 votes. Stix was declared the winner shortly before Christmas, nearly two months after the election.
Williams is a five-year resident of Ojai and was hoping to fix the division he’s witnessed in the community. He initially tried to recruit someone else to run for mayor but couldn’t convince anyone to do it, so he gave it a shot. Maybe he’ll get ’em next time!