Michigan’s top election official and Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey suggested today that mayoral candidate Mike Duggan’s votes should have been counted in the final tally, an indication that the former Wayne County prosecutor will reclaim his victory in the Aug. 6 primary election.
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Next week, the Board of State Canvassers will retabulate about 18,000 ballots that local officials declined to certify because election workers used numerals instead of hash marks to count the votes. The retabulation is expected to take up to a day and a half.
Such an oversight was not egregious enough to throw out the votes of thousands of Detroiters, nor does it suggest any corruption, election experts said today.
Clerk Winfrey agreed and called it a disgrace.
“It is disturbing that one would attempt to disqualify any vote that is cast by the people, as it smacks democracy in the face, the very principle on which this country was founded,” a fired-up Winfrey said.
The Wayne County Board of Canvassers on Tuesday declined to certify the election because of questions about what to do with the 18,000 write-in votes that were tabulated with numerals.
Michigan Elections Director Christopher Thomas said the county dropped the ball.
“If the board was concerned with the hash marks being there, then they had the authority to look at those ballots and retabulate them,” Thomas said today. “They should have done that.”
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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.