The special election dates to replace former U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, who resigned last year amid complaints of sexual harassment, will remain in August and November after a federal judge dismissed a complaint by voters who wanted the election to be held sooner. U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith dismissed the complaint against Gov. Rick Snyder, who set the special election dates to coincide with the August primary and the November general election. The schedule left some voters in Conyers’ 13th congressional district angry that the seat would be vacant for a year. The plaintiffs — Debra Rhodes, Gloria Mounger, Thomas Williams, Laura Dennis, and Vivian Wordlaw — argued that the the vacancy left them disenfranchised and violated the voting rights act.
“This is textbook voter disenfranchisement,” said Detroit attorney Michael Gilmore, who represented the voters and is also running for the congressional seat. “Gov. Snyder continues to treat residents of urban areas across the state as second-class citizens and is violating a laundry list of constitutional laws in doing so. By holding this congressional seat vacant for 11 months, he is denying minority residents of the 13th Congressional District the right to vote and the right to be represented in Congress.”
But Goldsmith ruled Wednesday that there was “no evidence supporting Plaintiffs’ theory that Governor Snyder was racially motivated or otherwise violated equal protection guarantees when he established dates that coincide with the regularly scheduled election dates.”
Full Article: Elections to replace Conyers will remain in August, November.