Michigan election officials are likely to review some 18,000 write-in votes from Detroit’s mayoral primary, and Gov. Rick Snyder is hoping for a swift resolution to the dispute. “There’s good people potentially involved in this process, so I hope it gets resolved,” Snyder said this morning during an interview on WJR-AM 760. “We don’t need more issues on things like this, but it’s important we do democracy the right way. Let’s get it looked at by the appropriate people, let’s get decisions made and let’s move forward.” The Wayne County Board of Canvassers on Tuesday considered throwing out 18,000 votes that would have swung the August 6 primary in favor of Sheriff Benny Napoleon weeks after unofficial results suggested that write-in candidate Mike Duggan had bested him by roughly 16,000 votes.
But rather than disqualify the votes in question, the county board refused to certify the results, kicking the responsibility up to the state. The Michigan Board of State Canvassers, which includes two Republicans and two Democrats, now has 10 days to certify the results or the election could end up in court.
The dispute centers around write-in votes tallied by poll workers in 179 out of Detroit’s 611 precincts. Those workers apparently failed to record hash marks for individual write-in votes, as outlined in a state election manual, only recording the total number of votes per candidate.
Michigan Elections Director Chris Thomas said the Board of State Canvassers is working to set up a meeting for early next week in Detroit and will likely ask his staff to “re-tabulate” all 18,000 votes, if necessary.