The Wayne County Board of Canvassers will continue going through challenged ballots today with hopes to wrap up a recount of the City of Detroit’s election before the week is out. At Monday’s board meeting, the findings of a handwriting expert hired by the board to examine ballots from the election was shared with the public. The expert, who was hired to check for similarity in handwriting, reportedly found “significant differences” in the writings examined, according to the board’s chairwoman. At least one challenger has said that some absentee ballots appear to have been been filled in by the same person. The expert, Robert D. Coleman with East Lansing consulting firm Speckin Forensic Laboratories, also said in his report to the board, dated Sunday, that he examined the writing for naturalness, formation of the words, pen lifts from the ballots and how hard the pen was pressed to paper when writing the response, among other things, said Chairwoman Carol Larkin. “My microscopic examinations of handwriting features of each entry on each of the 19 ballots and my side-by-side comparisons of like letters and letter conbinations between the 19 ballots revealed … there are a number of significant differences between the 19 ballots,” Larkin read from Coleman to the board.
Challengers to the handwriting, including former mayoral candidate Tom Barrow, argued that part of the problem with the handwriting samples was that ballots from different precincts were not able to be compared to each other.
“You’re dismissing the things we’re pointing to,” Barrow said. “There’s a number of people who were writing these things across the city.”
The examination of challenged ballots is expected to finish at today’s meeting. Larkin said she hopes the board will be able to certify the election at its Thursday meeting.