DETROIT (WWJ) – Longtime U.S. Rep. John Conyers did not turn in enough valid signatures to appear on the primary ballot.
Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garret made that decision on Tuesday.
She said, in a statement, “It is a very unfortunate circumstance that an issue with a circulator of a petition would disqualify the signature of valid registered voter. However, I am bound by the current laws and statutes of the State of Michigan that set forth very specific and narrow instructions regarding candidate petitions and the authority of the County Clerk.”
“…Although I am not the final arbiter, I eagerly await the courts’ review of the constitutionality of the laws and statutes pertaining to petition circulators,” Garret said.
Clerk’s office staffers determined that Conyers only collected 600 valid signatures — 400 short of the 1,000 required.
This latest comes after election officials discovered that two campaign workers were not registered voters when they circulated petitions for the congressman.
Hundreds of signatures collected by the two were tossed out.
Talking to WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas earlier Tuesday, Political Consultant Steve Hood — who was hired by the Conyers camp to collect petition signatures—admitted to that oversight.
“We checked all of the signatures of everybody that signed a petition; we checked ’em,” Hood said. “We had to make sure that they were registered voters within the 13th Congressional District.”
However, Hood admitted, “I did not double-check my circulators. I made a mistake.”
“…I take full responsibility,” Hood added. “I had the faith and trust of Mr. Conyers that I would get his done flawlessly.”
Conyers is seeking a 26th term after hanging onto his seat in 2012 with 82 percent of the vote.
It’s expected Conyers will launch a write-in campaign.
Hood said the whole thing is a shame.
“For his candidacy to even be challenged by a little loophole…disenfranchises all those people that signed,” he said. “It’s horribled that these people might be disenfranchised, and it’s wrong.”