DETROIT (WWJ) – Former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan has “officially” been declared the winner of last month’s mayoral primary election. The Board of State Canvassers Tuesday formally certifying Duggan as the winner — after a re-count in 385 city precincts.

At one point during the meeting, state elections director Chris Thomas was challenged by a protester in the audience reports WWJ’s Jon Hewett.

“Twenty-four thousand votes would not have been counted but for (inaudible … audience member interrupts) … I didn’t interrupt you, so let me speak. What you’re asking is for us to certify the Wayne County totals – where it is clear – that twenty-four thousand voters in the city of Detroit votes would not be counted,” said Thomas. “That is disenfranchisement.”

Detroit City Clerk candidate Theta Wilcoxson was on hand and disputed the legality of the proceedings.

“You had absolutely no legal authority by way of statute to open seal, to remove ballots, and to count them,” she said. “This board has done the state of Michigan a huge dis-service>”

“This process has stopped the most massive disenfranchisement in the history of this state,” responded Thomas.

“Because of hash marks you can now throw out twenty-four thousand votes of residents of the city of Detroit – that’s unconscionable and what this board did was to correct a problem that should not have occurred,” Thomas said.

The state’s final count showed Duggan with more than 48,700 votes — compared to about 28,300 votes for Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. The two will face each other nine weeks in the November general election.

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