Saline voters elected Jack Ceo, Jim Dell’Orco and Kevin Camero-Sulak to two-year terms on Saline City Council in Tuesday’s general election. Voter turnout was light by Saline standards, although it’s tough to find many off-year election years without other races or referendums. Of Saline’s 6,583 voters, 1,103 cast ballots - 16.76 percent.
Jack Ceo, the only incumbent in the race, garnered the most votes. He finished with 825 votes. Ceo, who served as Saline’s Deputy Police Chief, has a long history of public service in Saline and Washtenaw County.
Dell’Orco, who was driven into local politics to defend his neighborhood against plans to increased the density of a condo development on South Monroe Street, also had a strong showing. He was second with 801 votes. Dell’Orco is a research scientist at the University of Michigan.
Camero-Sulak, like Dell’Orco, ran for office for the first time and finished with 743 votes. Camero-Sulak has spent his career in residential and commercial real estate as an appraiser and quality control expert with a lender.
Brian Cassise, an engineer at Toyota, was a distant fourth with 405 votes. Cassise, who only recently moved to town, ran a fairly quiet campaign.
Camero-Sulak, Ceo and Dell-Orco will begin their term in January. Dell’Orco and Camero-Sulak replace Linda TerHaar and Heidi McClelland, both of whom chose not to seek re-election.
Each of the victorious candidates thanked the voters.
“I”m grateful for everyone who took the time to vote today,” Ceo said. “I’m also appreciative of the endorsements and support I received.”
Dell’Orco expressed similar sentiments.
“I’m so grateful for all the support people have given me and to the people who have spoken out for me,” Dell’Orco said. “It’s touching. I’m grateful to carry their voice to city council.”
Camero-Sulak said he, too, was thankful.
“Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote. It’s important. And I appreciate everyone who cast their vote for me,” Camero-Sulak said. “I look forward to getting to work with the other members of council to solve the city’s issues.”
The new triumvirate posed for a picture at Dan’s, where they had gathered with friends, family and other members of city council, including Mayor Brian Marl and Councillors McClelland and Christen Mitchell.
Mayor Marl said it was good to see the candidates getting along jovially on election night.
“It’s a good sign. I think this is going to be a cohesive group. We certainly won’t agree on everything, but we’ll work together as a team to advance the ball and make Saline an even better, more vibrant community than it is today,” Marl said.
Marl said he wasn’t surprised by the results. In fact, he said, he prognosticated the order of the candidates to a friend just yesterday.
“I’m not surprised by the results. I congratulate each one of the gentlemen - Jack, my friend of many years. I look forward to working with Kevin and Jim and we’ll do our best to get them acclimated so they can hit the ground running in January. And I thank and congratulate Brian Cassise for putting himself forward and offering himself as a candidate and hope he finds way to become involved and contribute to Saline,” Marl said.
Voter turnout was down from 24-28 percent in 2017, when voters also went to the polls on a rec millage and sinking fund renewal. Turnout was was 24-27 percent in 2015 when school district voters also decided the fate of a bond issue. Turnout was 17-18 percent in 2013, when there was also a schools proposal on the ballot.
Poll worker Jim Roth, a regular election worker for the city, said he thought voter turnout was solid.
“It was steady. There were never any lines. But there were constantly people coming into vote,” Roth said.
Residents reported short waits to vote at Liberty School and First United Methodist Church. One resident was concerned about election security when he saw a sheet of paper containing the poll administrators’ user names and passwords, “facing up, in plain sight.”
The Saline Post contacted election security expert J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science and engineering and director of the Center for Computer Security and Society at the University of Michigan. Halderman surmised the sheet probably contained credentials for the electronic poll book laptops.
Having the credentials in public view is likely a security lapse, Halderman said. But it’s unlikely anything suspicious could have happened with Saline’s election results.
“Someone who got the passwords and had access to the laptops would probably be able to do things like checking off voters who hadn't actually voted, or perhaps even deleting part of the list of people who had voted that day. However, there is another layer of defense: the poll workers operating the check-in desk hopefully wouldn't let an unauthorized person use the computers,” Halderman said.