Lawsuit questions Warren Evans' Wayne Co. residency - KMSP-TV

Lawsuit questions Warren Evans' Wayne Co. residency

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(WJBK) - Warren Evans is one of the men who wants to be Wayne County's next chief executive but he is now facing a legal challenge to his candidacy.

"The rule of law is important, especially election law," says Thomas Yack, former Canton Township supervisor. He says Wayne County's charter fails to specifically address requirements for the county executive position so state law prevails.

"We have a conflict between the Wayne County Charter, at least I think there's a conflict, and state law. And I know from being a local elected official, state law always trumps local," Yack says.

And, he says, since Evans only changed his address from Washtenaw County to Wayne County one day before filing he should be disqualified. State law calls for a 30 day residency requirement to vote and therefore, they say, to be a candidate.

"He changed his address April 21, filed the next day April 22. Clear cut statute requires 30 days residing in Wayne County before he filed - he didn't do that," says attorney John Harrington.

Richard Kaufman, campaign manager for Warren C. Evans, issued the following statement in response to the request for a legal opinion about his candidacy:

"Warren meets all the requirements to qualify him to run in the August 5 primary for Wayne County Executive. This is a meritless, desperate challenge that is being leveled against the frontrunner. All information regarding Warren's residency in Wayne County has been known for months and they have waited until the eve of the election, after thousands of the voters have cast their ballots to make it. Wayne County residents should be offended by such backroom politics."

Yack and his attorney are actually suing Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett and the election commission. They say Evans should be removed from the ballot. Of course, it's so late in the game he's already on.

"They shouldn't count the ballots. It'll take a gutty decision by a judge to do that," says Yack.

Yack says he doesn't have anything against Evans, he just wants clarification on the law. All parties are due back in court Thursday morning.
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