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Ex-Detroit Medical Center CEOofficially wins mayoral primary

City-county-state disagreement on process delays certification


Ballots are rolled in for re-examination at Cadillac Place in Detroit. The final, official results were delayed because city elections workers used numeric counts instead of the preferred hash marks in their tally.


DETROIT — Former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan, a Democrat, won Detroit’s Aug. 6 nonpartisan mayoral primary by more than 20,000 votes, according to official results approved Tuesday by state canvassers.

Tuesday’s certification was delayed two weeks after Wayne County canvassers turned the job over to the state. County canvassers refused to count more than 24,000 write-in ballots because city elections workers used numeric counts instead of hash marks to tally them.

The state’s final count showed Mr. Duggan with more than 48,700 votes compared to about 28,300 for Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. The two were the top vote-getters in the nonpartisan primary and will face off in the November general election.

The winner takes office in January, succeeding Mayor Dave Bing who did not seek re-election after one term.

Mr. Duggan’s name was knocked off the ballot earlier this summer over a residency issue. Mr. Napoleon, a former Detroit police chief, was on the ballot.

A number of people, including mayoral candidate Tom Barrow, threatened at a public hearing last week to seek a recount, which could not be held until the election was certified. Mr. Barrow finished back in the pack during the primary.

Unofficial results from the city of Detroit’s count immediately after the primary showed Mr. Duggan with 44,395 verifiable write-in votes.

Wayne County canvassers said they counted about 24,000 valid votes for Mr. Duggan and about 28,300 for Mr. Napoleon. They did not count write-in ballots that were not tallied with hash marks. A number of canisters containing write-in ballots were not opened.

State Elections Director Chris Thomas said both the city and county made mistakes. He also said not counting all the write-in ballots would have disenfranchised thousands.

“The city understands when they have write-ins they need to have their work shown,” he said. “The county — when that doesn’t occur and there are votes there — they need to go in and count those votes.”

The state Board of Canvassers voted 4-0 on Aug. 27 to allow the tabulations of the uncounted ballots, which were spread over 385 of Detroit’s 614 voting precincts in the city. State elections workers began their count that day.

Failed city clerk candidate D. Etta Wilcoxon filed suit last week to stop the count and Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Joyce Draganchuk issued a temporary restraining order to stop state elections workers from completing the count. But the count already had been completed.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette successfully filed a motion Friday to the state Court of Appeals to have Judge Draganchuk’s order reversed.

Ms. Wilcoxon’s challenge was moot because the counting process already has been completed, the Appeals Court wrote.

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