Wayne Co. Clerk Throws Rep. John Conyers Off Primary Ballot

Source: Darren A. Nichols and Mariisa Schultz / The Detroit News

Detroit — U.S. Rep. John Conyers does not have enough signatures to remain on the Aug. 5 ballot, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett said Tuesday — a decision that puts his half-century career in Congress at risk.

Garrett called the decision about the fellow Detroit Democrat unfortunate, but said she’s “bound by the current laws and statutes of the State of Michigan that set forth very specific and narrow instructions regarding candidate petitions and the authority of the County Clerk.”

“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 a statement released Tuesday. Her ruling confirms a staff investigation released Friday that found Conyers had 592 signatures — 408 less than the 1,000 required by state law.

More than 640 signatures for Conyers, 84, were disqualified after a challenge by primary opponent the Rev. Horace Sheffield of Detroit resulted in a clerk office staff’s finding that the petition circulators were not registered voters as required by state law. It disqualifies the longest-serving African-American in Congress and means Sheffield is the only Democratic candidate on the Aug. 5 ballot for the 13th Congressional District, which includes Detroit and other parts of Wayne County.

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