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State To Re-Tally Write-In Votes In Detroit Mayoral Primary

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(Photo; Charlie Langton/WWJ)

(Photo; Charlie Langton/WWJ)

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DETROIT (WWJ) Members of the State Board of Canvassers voted 4-0 Tuesday to re-tally Detroit’s mayoral primary results, which means they’ll soon be rolling up their sleeves to recalculate what could become one of the most pivotal elections in Detroit history.

The issue erupted after the Detroit city clerk’s office posted results that showed write-in candidate Mike Duggan handily defeating Benny Napoleon. But when the votes went to Wayne County for certification, the county board found Detroit workers had not used hashmarks to represent every five votes counted — so they tossed out 18,000 write-in ballots where hashmarks weren’t used in their tabulation.

Without the 18,000 votes, Napoleon became the unofficial victor.

Then the state stepped in and said those votes couldn’t be tossed out — so now Michigan is going to look at the ballots again. The recalculation is expected to last a few days.

There were several comments from the public during the Board of Canvassers hearing from people who believe the federal government should step into the general election in November. “It was suggested criminal activity took place on election night,” WWJ legal analyst Charlie Langton said, adding the board is only concerned with getting an accurate count and certifying the vote — not calling in the feds.

“That was the stumbling block, that was the issue at the end of the day, were the 18,000-plus ballots that were in question,” State Elections Director Chris Thomas said. “Well, in order to get an accurate count the law says the board should go back and look at those ballots and get an accurate count so  that’s what we’re going to do.”

Colleen Perrot with the State Board of Canvassers says it’s critical each and every vote is counted.

“What we’re doing is actually looking only at those votes that were write-in votes for the mayor of the city of Detroit,” Perrot said. “Because 18,000, plus or minus, were actually cast, we feel it’s very important that they’re counted.”

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