The roller coaster ride that has been Mike Duggan’s campaign for mayor took another sharp twist after the Wayne County Board of Canvassers today invalidated about 18,000 votes, handing the Aug. 6 primary election victory to Benny Napoleon – for now.
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The county refused to certify the election, sending it to the state’s election board.
The new results show that Napoleon won the primary with 28,391 votes, while Duggan got 23,970 vote.
At issue is whether election workers improperly handled about 18,000 votes. Instead of using hash numbers to tabulate the votes, election counters just wrote down numbers, according to the county board.
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What likely won’t change is that Duggan will still face Napoleon in the November general election to replace Mayor Dave Bing.
Duggan’s camp smells foul.
“Our opponents tried another dirty trick today and it didn’t work,” Duggan campaign manager Bryan Barnhill said. “To its credit, the Board of Canvassers unanimously refused to disenfranchise 18,000 Detroiters who properly cast their write-in votes for Mike Duggan. We’re confident the State Elections Division will certify the results of the election properly and make certain that all votes are counted.”
Whatever the case, Napoleon said he’s concerned about the discrepancy because it means the city’s democratic system is failing miserably. He called on federal oversight of the general election.
“This is no small margin of error,” Napoleon said. “This is very troubling, and I believe it is cause for Detroit’s General Election to be overseen by the highest authority — either the Federal Elections Commission or the Department of Justice. Detroiters need to know their votes count and is not predicated on someone’s actions or inactions. We must protect our most sacred right at all costs.”
On Monday, mayoral candidate Tom Barrow, who got just 4% of the vote, demanded a manual recount, claiming a massive fraud committed by Duggan’s camp.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.