State elections department will review some ballots for Detroit mayor

Aug 27, 2013

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State elections officials will re-tabulate some of the votes cast in Detroit’s mayoral primary.

But they won’t throw out thousands of write-in votes because of how election workers marked them.

That’s good news for candidate Mike Duggan, who according to unofficial results was the top vote-getter in the August 6th primary.

But Duggan ran as a write-in candidate. And different election workers marked those votes differently—some with numbers, others with hash marks.

The Wayne County Clerk raised the issue about the different markings, suggesting thousands of votes for Duggan may have to be thrown out because of the different marking.

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers refused to certify the election over thatissue, opting to pass it up to the state.

State elections director Chris Thomas now says they won’t discount any votes because of how they were marked.

“You can’t disenfranchise voters because election workers make a mistake, or don’t do what they’re supposed to do,” said Thomas.

But Thomas says the state’s examination of the election results did reveal some problems.

So the state board of canvassers will re-count write-in votes from precincts where poll workers didn’t show how the votes were counted; where  the electronic vote tabulator showed fewer votes than poll workers recorded; or where there was a  discrepancy between Wayne County’s results and the city of Detroit’s.

Thomas hopes the state can certify the election by next Tuesday.

“We’re just very pleased that over the next few days, they’ve made it extremely clear that this is going to be a very clear and transparent process, where all of the votes are going to get counted,” said Butch Hollowell, legal counsel for the Duggan campaign.

Regardless of the outcome, it’s virtually certain that Duggan and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon finished as the top two candidates in the primary—and will face off in the November election.