DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Longtime Congressman John Conyers has joined a federal lawsuit taking aim at the requirement that petition collectors be registered voters.

Conyers joined the suit Thursday, two days after Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett determined he doesn’t have enough signatures to appear on the Aug. 5 Democratic primary ballot. Clerk’s office staffers determined that Conyers only collected 600 valid signatures — 400 short of the 1,000 required.

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The suit was filed against Garrett and Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson by the ACLU on behalf of two petition circulators and others. The signatures they gathered weren’t counted because they hadn’t complied with state voter registration requirements.

The ACLU’s lawsuit claims requiring petition circulators to be registered voters is unconstitutional. “And there is support for that in a case from 2009,” said WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton.

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Johnson’s office declined comment. Conyers is one of the longest-serving members of the U.S .Congress, first elected to the House 50 years ago in 1964. He represents Michigan’s 13th district, including Detroit and several suburbs.

A hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. next Wednesday in Detroit federal court.


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