Wayne County requests state takeover of Detroit primary votes validation

Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:44:23 AM EST   Updated On: Aug 20 2013 11:59:55 PM EDT

First the city clerk said Mike Duggan won. Then, the Wayne County Board of Canvassers said it was Benny Napoleon who won. Now, the state has to make the final certification.


The Wayne County Board of Canvassers is not validating votes from the city of Detroit's primary mayoral election and is requesting the validation be turned over to the state of Michigan.

This request comes after the Board of Canvassers announced Tuesday that Detroit mayoral candidate Benny Napoleon won the city's primary election by 4,421 votes after thousands of votes were thrown out.

"Our Bureau of Elections is in contact with Wayne County's Board of Canvassers. We don't have any details, so I can't comment right now," said Gisgie Davila Gendreau, communications director at the Michigan Department of State.

According to the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, Napoleon received 28,391 votes while write-in candidate Mike Duggan received 23,970 votes. However, the numbers could change again now that the county has requested the state's intervention.

"Our opponents tried another dirty trick today and it didn't work," said Bryan Barnhill, Duggan's campaign manager. "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."

It was originally reported that Duggan received the most votes. He was considered the front-runner heading into the general election, but now that appears to have changed since thousands of votes were thrown out. Duggan would have been the first write-in candidate in Detroit's history to win a primary election.

"I have never seen so much effort being put in to try and disenfranchise people," said Duggan. "Apparently they're trying to knock out 20,000 votes because the people counting them wrote down a number of votes instead of writing down stick figures."

Napoleon shares in the frustration.

"This is not a cause for celebration for me. I'm concerned about the citizens of this community and them having an honest election," Napoleon said. "Having an election that they believe in, that they have confidence in. So because of that I am going to ask the federal government -- the Justice Department -- to come in and monitor this election from this point forward."

The Board of Canvassers says the Detroit City Clerk's office released inaccurate numbers. The mix-up is in the way the write-in candidates' votes were tallied. Not all precincts followed the correct guidelines, the Board of Canvassers says.

Duggan and Napoleon now will face off in the November general election.

Meanwhile, now-former Detroit mayoral candidate Tom Barrow is calling for a manual recount of the primary election ballots. It seems he is about to get his wish.

Read more: Barrow: Primary vote count illegal, will request recount


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