DETROIT (CBS Detroit) The state was barred Thursday from retabulating contested votes in the hotly contested Detroit mayoral primary by an surprise order of the Ingham County Circuit Court.
“The State Board of Canvassers is immediately restrained and enjoined, pending further order of this Court, from recounting the actual ballots cast for any write-in candidates during the August 2013 Primary Election and shall be enjoined from handling and removing from the ballot boxes any ballots cast during the August 2013 Primary Election for the City of Detroit,” the decision says.
If you’re keeping score, this is what it looks like: Wayne County refused to certify the city of Detroit’s unofficial results, saying workers didn’t use the proper hash marks in their count of write-in ballots. They tossed out about 18,000 votes.
The issue went to the state, which ruled all ballots had to be counted and said Tuesday they would undertake a re-tally of the contested ballots.
Then the court got involved Thursday and ordered the state not to retabulate the ballots. This means the city, county, state — and now the courts — are in the thick of 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.
There were several comments from the public during the Board of Canvassers hearing where the state decided to re-tally the numbers 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.
Colleen Perrot with the State Board of Canvassers said 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.”