Benny Napoleon

Politics & Government
6:24 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

State Appeals Court rules Detroit election can be certified next week

State workers re-tabulating votes from the Detroit mayoral primary. The Michigan Court of Appeals has allowed the state board of canvassers to move forward and certify the election next week.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Court of Appeals has reversed an order that would have prevented state officials from certifying Detroit’s mayoral primary.

The state stepped in after the Wayne County Board of Canvassers passed on certifying the election because of a dispute over how write-in votes were marked and counted.

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Politics & Government
8:58 am
Thu August 29, 2013

In this morning’s news: Medicaid delays, Detroit student recruitment, and Detroit mayoral campaign

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Governor Snyder pushes to expedite Medicaid expansion

A bill to expand Medicaid in Michigan passed the state Senate by a narrow vote earlier this week. But a vote to make those changes by January 1, 2014 failed.  This means that thousands of people will have to wait until spring to receive health coverage.  Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta reports that Governor Rick Snyder hopes the Senate will revisit the issue as soon as Tuesday.

Deadline approaches for Detroit Public Schools recruitment

As the school year quickly approaches, Detroit Public Schools are running out of time to recruit new students.  Michigan Radio’s Kate Wells reports that the district’s summer goal was to gain 5,000 new students. If DPS does not meet this goal it may lose millions, resulting in possible layoffs and program cuts.  The district is currently retaining 93% of their students.

Detroit mayoral candidates continue campaign

Detroit mayoral candidates Mike Duggan and Benny Napoleon are continuing their campaigns while primary election drama settles out.  Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek  reports  that both candidates “are trying to position themselves as champions of Detroit neighborhoods.” Duggan is rolling out a neighborhood plan to reduce blight, while Napoleon is accusing him of being tied to “downtown corporate interests.”

Politics & Government
10:37 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Duggan vs. Napoleon heats up; each promises to champion Detroit neighborhoods

Benny Napoleon

 After a post-primary lull, the Detroit mayor’s race is heating up again—with each candidate positioning himself as the champion of the city’s neighborhoods.

While the State Board of Canvassers sorts out who actually won the primary, Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon jumped back into the spotlight this week.

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Politics & Government
4:47 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

State elections department will review some ballots for Detroit mayor

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.

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Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat August 24, 2013

The week in review: Detroit primaries, ACLU racial mapping case, 'fee-for-service'

Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Week-in-review for 8/23/2013

This week, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the certification of Detroit’s mayoral primary results, the Detroit ACLU’s case against the FBI, and a union’s “fee-for-service” for employee grievances.

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Stateside
5:53 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Controversy surrounds the results of Detroit's mayoral primary

Jocelyn Benson, dean of the Wayne State University Law School.
Photograph courtesy of the votebenson.com website

An interview with Jocelyn Benson, interim dean of Wayne State University's law school.

As you've likely heard by now, a state election panel will have to decide the official outcome of Detroit's mayoral primary. That's because Wayne County's election board refused to certify the election. It should be noted that the county election board acted on the very last day before the deadline to certify the election.

The controversy centers on some 20,000 write-in votes that may have been incorrectly marked by Detroit poll workers.

Former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan appeared to win the primary handily over Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

Despite running as a write-in candidate, Duggan won by about 16 points, according to unofficial results.

But if these almost 20,000 write-in votes get thrown out, the two winners would switch places, with  Napoleon coming out on top, and former Detroit Medical Center Mike Duggan finishing second.

Whatever the outcome, Duggan and Napoleon will face off in November.

But this drama raises many concerns, including the ability of Detroit poll workers to do their jobs properly, whether there needs to be a recount, and whether---as suggested by Benny Napoleon--the U.S. Department of Justice needs to babysit the big November election.

Jocelyn Benson, interim dean of Wayne State University's law school and an expert in Michigan's constitutional and election law, joined us today to help us sort this all out.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
5:15 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Detroit city clerk: Move to disqualify votes "smacks democracy right in the face"

Janice Winfrey
Credit City of Detroit

The Detroit city clerk is dropping responsibility for Detroit’s mayoral primary debacle squarely in Wayne County’s lap.

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers declined to certify the election results Tuesday.

Discrepancies between how some poll workers tallied votes on precinct worksheets put almost 20,000 votes for write-in candidate Mike Duggan in jeopardy.

Based on unofficial results, Duggan won the primary handily over Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. But discounting those votes would have made Napoleon the winner.

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Politics & Government
1:02 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

State will step in to certify Detroit election results

Had the votes been discarded, Mike Duggan (right), would have placed second in the Detroit mayoral primary.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

The state will take the extremely rare step of stepping in to certify the results of Detroit’s mayoral primary. That’s after a Wayne County elections board refused to count 18,000 write-in ballots because they were improperly marked by poll workers. Michigan’s Elections Director Chris Thomas says those ballots should be counted.

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Opinion
8:58 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Systems failure leads to election confusion and stalled road funding

Lessenberry commentary for 8/21/2013

Lily Tomlin and Oliver Cromwell have nothing in common, as far as I know.  But I thought of both this morning when I was considering the news from Detroit and Lansing.

Tomlin years ago came up with a perfect line to describe the latest twist in the Detroit elections mess.  “No matter how cynical you get, you can’t keep up.”

That was exactly the case when the Wayne County Board of Canvassers met to certify the totals in the Detroit mayoral primary election two weeks ago. There should have been no mystery about the results. Mike Duggan had been ruled off the ballot on a technicality, but won in a write-in landslide.  He got nearly twice as many votes as his closest competitor, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. But Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett yesterday announced she was throwing out nearly half of Duggan’s votes, because poll workers merely recorded them, rather than make a hashtag mark next to them.

Not only did this cavalierly disenfranchise twenty thousand voters, it looks and smells highly suspect. Cathy Garrett is the sister of Al Garrett, a prominent union official who is one of Benny Napoleon’s biggest backers.

Now her decision would not have changed the lineup for the November runoff. It will still be between Duggan and Napoleon. But Garrett’s maneuver would have allowed Napoleon’s backers to claim he “won” a primary he actually lost.

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Politics & Government
8:21 am
Wed August 21, 2013

In this morning's news: Detroit author dies, election confusion in Detroit, and Grand Rapids schools

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Author Elmore Leonard dies

Detroit writer Elmore Leonard passed away yesterday at age 87.  Michigan Radio’s Kate Wells reports that Leonard was the author of 45 novels and was in the middle of number 46 when he suffered a stroke earlier this summer.  Leonard’s work has often been adapted to well-known films such as 3:10 to Yuma, Out of Sight, and the television series Justified.

Detroit mayoral race has ballot counting issues

In Detroit’s mayoral race earlier this month, Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan appeared to have a clear 16-point lead over Wayne County Sherriff Benny Napoleon.  But now the results are being questioned because of ballot counting inconsistencies.  Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek reports that “votes are customarily counted with hash marks but some election workers used numbers instead.” 

Grand Rapids Public Schools show improvement

Some Grand Rapids Public Schools have had difficulty meeting Michigan state educational standards for the past few years.  Union High School previously hovered in the lowest one percent of schools in the state.  It has now pulled itself up to within the lowest ten percent.  Michigan Radio’s Lindsay Smith reports that the district’s superintendent said “it wasn’t just the district; this really has been a community effort.”

Developing
5:54 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Confusion over who won the Detroit mayoral primary

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Update 5:54 p.m.

The state will settle the issue of who really won the Detroit mayoral primary election earlier this month, after the Wayne County Board of Canvassers declined to certify the results.

At issue are about 18,000 votes, and a controversy over how they were counted.

Apparently votes are customarily counted with hash marks, but some election workers used numbers instead.  If the votes with numbers get thrown out, the two winners would switch places, with Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon coming out on top, and former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan finishing second. 

Rather than certifying the election, the Wayne County Board of Canvassers has asked the state Bureau of Elections to settle the question. A spokesman for the state says the last time a county board failed to certify an election was the 1980s.  

Whatever the outcome, Duggan and Napoleon will face off in November. 

Update 4:57 p.m.

Matt Helms and Joe Guillen of the Detroit Free Press report that the Wayne County Board of Canvassers is debating whether to toss 18,000 votes from the August 6th Detroit mayoral election.

The Freep reports that Mike Duggan's legal team says they'll fight any results where that many votes are not counted:

“It’s the most outrageous, disgraceful thing I’ve seen in 20 years of observing elections,” said Melvin “Butch” Hollowell, legal counsel for Mike Duggan. “This is worse than Bush versus Gore.”

He said Duggan’s team has appealed to the Michigan Bureau of Elections for an answer, and would challenge any certification that did not include the left-out numbers.

And from the same piece, Benny Napoleon said the controversy calls into question the whole election process in Detroit and is calling for federal oversight of the general election:

“A citizen’s vote is the cornerstone of Democracy, and people should be able to put their faith in their ballot,” Napoleon, who finished second in the mayoral primary to Duggan, said in a statement.

“This is no small margin of error. This is very troubling and I believe it is cause for Detroit’s General Election to be overseen by the highest authority — either the Federal Elections Commission or the Department of Justice, Napoleon said. 

4:09 p.m.

Area newsrooms are working to find out what happened to all the write-in votes cast for Mike Duggan. WXYZ-TV reports thousands of Duggan votes were not counted because of a difference between how the city and the county tallies votes:

A county election official told the board the remaining votes were not counted because city election workers improperly tallied them. According to a state law, the city no longer has canvass board. Instead, elections must be certified by the county.

The county uses hash-marks to tally votes. Instead, city election workers used numbers to tally some of the votes. Since numbers were used and not hash marks, they were uncounted.

WXYZ reports the county board of canvassers has yet to to certify the election results, "but it was scheduled to take a vote to do so this afternoon."


3:47 p.m.

On August 6, everyone thought that Mike Duggan won the Detroit mayoral primary. 

We interviewed him, and Duggan had already started outlining his plans as Mayor of Detroit.

But today, the Detroit News is reporting that the Wayne County Board of Canvassers said that Benny Napoleon won the mayoral primary.

Two weeks ago, we thought Napolean had come in second. 

According to the Detroit News, the Board of Canvassers announced that Napoleon won with 28,391 votes. Duggan got 23,970. 

The News said that Lisa Howze, a former State Representative and a mayoral candidate who came in 4th in the race, will endorse Duggan for mayor:

She said she is supporting Duggan because they share the same vision about the neighborhood investment and economic development, adding that Duggan has the "tenacity and know-how to make relationships in the community" to get the job done as mayor. 

The panel upheld several different versions of write-in votes cast for Duggan: Mike Duggnn, Mick E. Duggan, Milk Duggan, Mr. Duggan, and Mike Duggan "the Whiteman" were some of the variations submitted.

If these results are upheld, it won't change who will appear on the ballot this November in the Detroit mayoral election. It would only change who we understand to be the top vote-getter in the August 6th primary.

*This post is being updated

-- Lucy Perkins, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Stateside
4:42 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Detroit's mayoral candidates need to face the city's harsh reality

Patricia Drury Flickr

An interview with Stephen Henderson, the editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press.

The primary election of 2013 is history. Now the focus shifts to the November general election.

For the two candidates who want to become Detroit's next mayor, it's time to take stock of the harsh realities facing the city and craft a clear campaign message that addresses those stark truths.

Stephen Henderson has been issuing that challenge from the pages of the Detroit Free Press throughout the campaign, and now that the two challengers have emerged from the primary, we wanted to get his thoughts.

Stephen Henderson, the editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:13 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

There are calls in Lansing to overhaul Michigan’s parole system. Advocates say the state keeps people in prison far longer than necessary.

And, we went back in time to explore how a Michigan company fed the nation's craze for sending postcards.

Also, we spoke with meteorologist Mark Torregrossa about improvements in weather forecasting technology.

First on the show, Detroit voters have spoken. Well, at least the 15% or so who voted in Tuesday's primary.

And, it will be Mike Duggan versus Benny Napoleon in the race for Mayor. We'll talk with our political commentator Jack Lessenberry to get his take on the primary results. But first, let's talk with the candidates.

We were joined today by the top vote-getter in yesterday's mayoral primary, a candidate whose name wasn't even on the ballot, Mike Duggan.

Stateside
5:07 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Detroit voters have spoken, now what?

An interview with Michigan Radio's political commentator Jack Lessenberry.

Detroit voters have spoken.

Well, at least 15% of so of them have, the percentage who voted in yesterday's primary.

And it will be Mike Duggan versus Benny Napoleon in the race for Mayor.

Despite being booted off the ballot, and being forced to launch a write-in candidacy, Mike Duggan was by far the most popular choice, with more than 44,395 of the 50,328 write-in ballots that were cast. We should note, Tuesday's election numbers won't be official until certified by county canvassers.

Michigan Radio's political commentator Jack Lessenberry joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
2:52 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Napoleon plans to move forward, undaunted by Duggan's strong showing in the polls

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

An interview with Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

Detroit voters have spoken. Well, at least 15% or so of them who voted in yesterday's primary.

And it will be Mike Duggan versus Benny Napoleon in the race for Mayor.

We were joined by one of the two candidates who will be on the ballot in November running to be the next Mayor of Detroit, Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

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Politics & Government
8:42 am
Wed August 7, 2013

In this morning's news: Detroit primaries, Pontiac schools in financial emergency, Flint election

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Duggan and Napoleon lead primary race

Unofficial results from the primary elections for Detroit mayor have been released. Former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan won the race in what was largely seen as a long-shot write-in campaign. He received 46 percent of the votes. County Sheriff Benny Napoleon came in second place with 30 percent. The two candidates will now face each other in the general election this November.

Snyder says Pontiac school district is in a financial emergency

Governor Rick Snyder said yesterday he agrees with a review team’s finding that the Pontiac school district is in a state of financial emergency. The district faces an almost $38 million deficit, up almost 50 percent in the past year alone. The Pontiac school district can choose to appeal the decision. If the appeal is rejected, the district must choose whether to negotiate a deficit-elimination plan, ask the governor for permission to file for bankruptcy, or request a state-appointed emergency manager.

Field of candidates narrows in Flint’s special election

“Flint-area voters narrowed the field of candidates to two in a Michigan House of Representatives special election. Unofficial returns on Tuesday in the 49th District showed Democrat Phil Phelps and Republican Don Pfeiffer received the most votes in their respective primaries. They will face off in a special general election in November, with Phelps favored to win the heavily Democratic district. The seat was vacated when former Democratic Rep. Jim Ananich was sworn into the state Senate in May,” the Associated Press reports. 

Opinion
8:40 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Looking forward to the November election in Detroit

Lessenberry commentary for 8/7/2013

What happened yesterday in Detroit was truly astounding on a number of levels. More than half of the voters ignored the fourteen mayoral candidates on the ballot, and wrote in a name.

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Politics & Government
12:47 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Duggan makes history with winning write-in campaign; Napoleon rallies supporters

Benny Napoleon finished second in Tuesday's Detroit mayoral primary
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

 Write-in candidates claimed over half the vote in Detroit’s mayoral primary Tuesday.

And that means Mike Duggan’s write-in campaign has made Detroit history.

The former Detroit Medical Center CEO’s campaign was well-organized and well-funded. There was just one problem: a court challenge got him kicked off the ballot.

But apparently that wasn’t a big problem.

Though official results may take some time, Duggan appears to have defeated his next-closest rival, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, by 20 points.

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Politics & Government
7:24 am
Mon August 5, 2013

In this morning's news: Animal abuse prevention, Michigan left turn, local primary elections

Morning News Roundup for Monday, August 5, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Legislators working to prevent animal abuse in Michigan

A bid to make Michigan the first state with an animal abuser registry has been dropped by lawmakers over concerns about cost and other issues. Instead, the state could soon require that criminal background checks be done on every would-be pet adopter at Michigan animal shelters. The $10 fee for each check could be waived for shelters. Cracking down on animal abuse has broad support, though some dog breeders question doing tens of thousands of background checks to flag a small number of abusers.

Michigan left turn could enter other states

The median U-turn is common on Michigan roadways; they allow drivers to avoid accident-generating left turns at intersections. But Wayne State University engineers say they aren't common in other states yet, in part because the design isn't included in standard manuals and software used by highway designers. The university received a $78,000 grant from Scientific Applications with which they plan to develop equations, text and software to include the Michigan left turn in the Highway Capacity Manual.

Looking forward to local primaries tomorrow

Local primaries will be taking place across Michigan tomorrow. The most interesting might be the Detroit mayoral primary. There are 14 names on the ballot, but the race is widely seen as a duel between former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan, and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. But Duggan isn't even on the ballot, he's running a write-in campaign. Only the top two candidates will advance to the November general election.

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Politics & Government
6:34 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Mike Duggan files for Detroit mayor, but says campaign isn't "the biggest challenge"

Mike Duggan meeting voters
Credit via dugganfordetroit.com

The Detroit mayor’s race has been unofficially underway for months.

But former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan was the first to file the paperwork to get his name on the August primary ballot Tuesday.

Candidates need at least 500 petition signatures to get on the ballot.

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