Clerk: Not enough valid signatures for Rep. Conyers to appear on - KMSP-TV

Clerk: Not enough valid signatures for Rep. Conyers to appear on ballot

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DETROIT (WJBK) - Just days after U.S. Rep. John Conyers stated he had enough signatures to appear on the August primary ballot, the Wayne County Clerk's Office has determined he does not, right now, have enough signatures that are valid.

The validity of the signatures was first questioned when two circulators were thought to be unregistered voters when they gathered signatures, which is against requirements.

Even though one of the circulators in question has a document stating he registered to vote back in December, the city clerk has determined both were not registered, making their signatures gathered invalid.

Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett says the election list will not be certified until May 7 due to other challenges, not all relating to Conyers.

If Conyers still does not have enough valid signatures at that time, he will have to run as a write-in candidate. Sources tell FOX 2's Randy Wimbley he could run as an independent.

John D. Pirich, Conyers' attorney, released this statement Friday evening:

"On April 18, 2014 Congressman John Conyers, Jr. turned in 2000 signed petitions for the Democratic Primary in the 13th Congressional District of Michigan.

"When the campaign began to receive questions regarding one or two of the petition circulators, we made attempts to clarify with the Detroit City Clerk's office and the Wayne County Clerk's office. We received registration forms for the two individuals in question that were dated December 13, 2013. We believe that there are one or more other individual circulators who are being challenged. In regards to those challenges, we are prepared to put forward evidence and testimony before the Wayne County Clerk's office and the Michigan Secretary of State to verify their registration status. It must be made clear that any registration deficiency is not the fault of the individuals; the fault lies with the Detroit City Clerk's office and their compliance with the law.

"Further, on April 30th, we received a letter from Delphine Odem, the Wayne County Elections Director, stating that Congressman Conyers has a sufficient number of signatures to be placed on the primary election ballot in August.

"Although we have heard various issues with Mr. Pennington and other circulators in question, as well as the Detroit City Clerk's office reviving challenges, the fact of the matter is that there is a primary review process that has many steps that must be taken before the process is completed. In that regard, we are reviewing some 800 signatures that were turned in with registered voters that can be rehabilitated.

"I am confident that at the end of these proceedings Congressman Conyers will be certified and on the primary election ballot in August."

The office of Cathy Garrett released this statement Friday evening:

"Regarding the challenges filed to candidates to appear on the August 5, 2014 Primary ballot, including Congressman John Conyers, the following applies:
As of today, the Detroit City Clerk, Janice Winfrey issued a report regarding the challenged circulators. We have also received a report from the Hamtramck City Clerk, August Gitschlag. However, we are waiting for a report from the Ecorse City Clerk, Dana Hughes. May 7, 2014 is the last day for local clerks to issue their report findings regarding the challenges filed.
Based on the report from the Detroit City Clerk, Janice Winfrey, Congressman John Conyers will not have the required number of signatures to appear on the August 5, 2014 Primary Ballot. As noted above, May 7, 2014, is the last day for local clerks to issue their report findings regarding the challenges filed. Therefore, based on that date and MCL 168.552(5) the following timeline applies:
On May 9, 2014, the Wayne County Clerk will make available the staff report and any documents received from the local election officials.
On May 13, 2014, the Wayne County Clerk will issue her final determination on challenges to and sufficiency of a petition.
On May 14, 2014, the Wayne County Clerk will certify the partisan candidates to appear on the August 5, 2014 Primary Ballot.

"Additionally, MCL 168.552(6) states:
A person feeling aggrieved by a determination made by the county clerk may have the determination reviewed by the secretary of state by filing a written request with the secretary of state within 3 days after the official declaration of the county clerk."
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