Absentee ballots for the special election to fill U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter’s term were sent out Monday, a day later than allowed by federal rules. State elections officials are working with the U.S. Justice Department to get a waiver of the 45-day rule mandating how long before an election the ballots must be sent out. “The Justice Department is (very) strict on the 45 days,” State Elections Director Chris Thomas told the Board of State Canvassers on Monday. After the meeting, Thomas said there is a provision in the federal law for the Department of Justice to grant a waiver to the 45-day rule. Thomas told board members his office is “in discussions” with the Justice Department about a waiver. The tight timeframe is the result of McCotter’s resignation from Congress after a petition signature scandal. Gov. Rick Snyder’s office set Sept. 5 as the date of a special primary election to fill the remainder of McCotter’s term.
Monday, the four-member board certified the petitions for the five Republicans and one Democrat who filed to run in the special primary. Kerry Bentivolio of Milford, Nancy Cassis of Novi, and Kenneth Crider, Carolyn Kavanagh and Steve King, all of Livonia, will face off in a Republican primary. The winner will face David Curson of Belleville in a special general election that will be run in concurrence with the Nov. 7 election to serve out the final weeks of McCotter’s tenure. The winner of the regular general election will take office in January 2013.
According to Thomas, the Bureau of Elections was not able to verify petitions submitted by the candidates until Monday because the filing deadline was Friday. He said elections workers were called in over the weekend to verify candidate petitions. “We finished up the canvass of the petitions this morning, and were satisfied everyone is in conformity,” Thomas said following the Board of State Canvassers meeting at the state Capitol. “(The county clerks) will be issuing the ballots today.”