he fate of U.S. Rep. John Conyers’ re-election campaign now lies with the Secretary of State’s Office after Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett announced Tuesday the longtime congressman won’t appear on the Aug. 5 primary ballot after a majority of signatures turned in to certify him for a 26th term were invalidated. Conyers plans to file an appeal with the state office, and has three days to do so. The office then will review the work done by Wayne County, said Chris Thomas, director of elections for the state. A decision won’t come until some time next week, he said. “It’s a verification process, we’ll be looking at registration status and the spreadsheet they provided us. It won’t take all that long,” he said. Conyers also could be headed down the same path as Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who waged a write-in campaign in last summer’s primary, eventually prevailing over Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon in the general election.
Garrett released a statement late Tuesday afternoon, saying her decision on Conyers’ certification for his 13th District seat was made by state election law.
“It is a very unfortunate circumstance that an issue with a circulator of a petition would disqualify the signature of valid registered voter,” Garrett said in the statement. “Although I am not the final arbiter, I eagerly await the courts’ review of the constitutionality of the laws and statutes pertaining to petition circulators.”
Questions arose late last month on a challenge from the Rev. Horace Sheffield, who also filed for the 13th District seat, about the validity of signatures Conyers’ campaign turned in to qualify for the ballot. More than 1,400 of the 2,000 signatures are now considered invalid.