Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s ballot eligibility challenged by opponent
Detroit Mayor – Detroit Mike Duggan should not be eligible to vote in his re-election campaign as he failed to update a fundraising disclosure in 2018. This emerges from a new legal challenge by one of his opponents.
An attorney for Kwame Kilpatrick-era deputy mayor Anthony Adams filed the lawsuit with the Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey and the Detroit Election Commission on Monday.
“Please note that we respectfully request that a decision be made on or before Wednesday, April 28, 2021,” stated the solicitation signed by attorney Andrew Paterson. “If a decision is not made within the above deadline, we will proceed with filing the appropriate legal action.”
Alexis Wiley, Duggan’s campaign manager, denied Adam’s claims, calling his challenge “purely frivolous”.
“It’s obvious that Anthony Adams believes his only hope of beating Mayor Duggan is that the mayor won’t vote,” she said. “Our campaign provided the Wayne County Clerk with a full detailed response in 2018 under the July 2018 Notice of Failure. We are fully compliant with all legal requirements and expect this challenge to be dismissed as unfounded.”
Wiley said the campaign submitted the requested documents in September 2018 and received no additional communications. She was unable to immediately provide a copy of the documentation to The Detroit News on Monday.
Lisa Williams, a spokeswoman for the Wayne County Clerk’s Office, denied Wiley’s claim. In an email to The News on Monday, she said that Duggan “has not filed an amended quarterly campaign statement for July 2018”.
“His original records are up to date and he has no outstanding fees with our office,” said Williams.
Should a candidate be declared ineligible, they can seek relief in court, Williams said. Nothing in the law prevents a candidate from enrolling, she added.
Duggan has done this before.
He was forced to run for enrollment in the Mayor’s Elementary School in 2013. At the time, Candidate Tom Barrow asked if Duggan, who had moved to Detroit from Livonia, met City Charter requirements for residence to appear on the Detroit ballot.
A three-person panel on the appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that removed Duggan from the vote. The judges said Duggan was in breach of Detroit’s charter by early filing for the position.
Duggan ultimately prevailed as the top voter in the August 2013 primary, despite Barrow unsuccessfully questioning the validity of some of the Duggan’s votes.
The Duggan eligibility challenge is one of a handful that has been tabled in the past few days.
By and large, the certification of Janee Ayers, the Detroit city councilor, for the elementary school is being questioned. Taylor town clerk Cynthia Bower ruled Friday that the accused Mayor Rick Sollars would not appear on the town’s ballot paper, and Pontiac election officials disqualified Mayor Deirdre Waterman for failing to submit campaign reports on time.
Michigan law requires those applying for office to file an affidavit, including “a statement that includes, at the time of the affidavit, any representations, reports, late filing fees, and fines required by the candidate or a candidate committee” submitted or paid for.
Campaign funding records maintained by the county show that Duggan filed his July 2018 report, which covered November 28, 2017 through July 20, 2018 from July 25, 2018. However, the clerk’s office asked Duggan’s campaign to resolve 22 issues totaling $ 48,287 to Paychex for “wage employment taxes.”
“You may need to report the names of the people you pay tax on,” said a letter from the district clerk requesting an amendment to Duggan’s report by August 27, 2018.
The final decision on whether Duggan will be certified rests with Winfrey, Williams said. The Wayne County Clerk office, she said, will provide Winfrey’s office with records upon request.
“The Detroit City Clerk is the registration officer for the offices in question,” she said. “The registration officer determines a candidate’s eligibility to be certified for voting.”
Winfrey confirmed to The News Monday that she received the challenge, but said it was up to the district clerk to review Duggan’s financial documents for the campaign. Winfrey added that her office will complete the certification process for candidates who signed up for the August vote at the end of the week.
Duggan announced in December that he was seeking a third term on a platform that aims to remove obstacles that are holding Detroiters away from jobs and opportunities.
Adams, who accused Duggan of “benevolent neglect,” added “there is no discretion” in contesting eligibility, referring to the other decisions made by electoral officials over the past few days that campaign papers are in with mayors Taylor and Pontiac were submitted.
“It’s incredible that the lack of attention to detail for a person who’s first had to run a subscription campaign isn’t against the law,” Adams told The News.
Paterson said in a statement to The News that the facts in the case are undisputed.
“Because Mike Duggan’s campaign committee did not file a required campaign revised financial report at the time of signing his affidavit, the Detroit city clerk cannot confirm his name as a candidate for mayor in August 2021,” he said.
“Legislature changed this section of the law because candidates have deliberately tabled false affidavits for many years to qualify for the vote without doing anything. The legislature’s change to the statute now clearly sees a punishment for one Candidate submitting a false affidavit that is removed from the ballot. “
As of last week’s deadline, 13 candidates had signed up to challenge Duggan. High profile competitors include Barrow and Adams.