State Certifies Detroit Mayoral Primary Election

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State Board of Canvassers. (credit: Jon Hewett/WWJ)

State Board of Canvassers. (credit: Jon Hewett/WWJ)

By COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) – Former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan won Detroit’s Aug. 6 mayoral primary by more than 20,000 votes, according to official results approved Tuesday by state canvassers.

Tuesday’s certification was delayed two weeks after Wayne County canvassers turned the job over to the state.

County canvassers refused to count more than 24,000 write-in ballots because city elections workers used numeric counts instead of hash marks to tally them.

The state’s final count showed Duggan with more than 48,700 votes compared to about 28,300 for Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. The two were the top vote-getters in the non-partisan primary and will face off in the November general election.

The winner takes office in January, succeeding Mayor Dave Bing who decided not to seek re-election after one term in office.

Duggan’s name was knocked off the ballot earlier this summer over a residency issue. Napoleon, a former Detroit police chief, was on the ballot.

A number of people, including mayoral candidate Tom Barrow, threatened at a public hearing last week to seek a recount, which could not be held until the election was certified. Barrow finished back in the pack during the primary.

Unofficial results from the city of Detroit’s count immediately after the primary showed Duggan with 44,395 verifiable write-in votes.
Wayne County canvassers said they counted about 24,000 valid votes for Duggan and about 28,300 for Napoleon. They did not count write-in ballots that were not tallied with hash marks. A number of canisters containing write-in ballots were not opened.

State Elections Director Chris Thomas said both the city and county made mistakes during the process. He also said not counting all the write-in ballots would have disenfranchised thousands of voters.

“The city understands when they have write-ins they need to have their work shown,” Thomas told The Associated Press Tuesday. “The county – when that doesn’t occur and there are votes there – they need to go in and count those votes.”

The state Board of Canvassers voted 4-0 on Aug. 27 to allow the tabulations of the uncounted ballots, which were spread over 385 of Detroit’s 614 voting precincts in the city. State elections workers began their count that day.

Failed city clerk candidate D. Etta Wilcoxon filed suit last week to stop the count and Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Joyce Draganchuk issued a temporary restraining order to stop state elections workers from completing the count. But the count already had been completed.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette successfully filed a motion Friday to the state Court of Appeals to have Draganchuk’s order reversed.

Wilcoxon’s challenge was moot because the counting process already has been completed, the Appeals Court wrote.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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