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Congressman John Conyers Apparently Failed To Qualify For The Ballot

One of the longest serving Members of Congress finds himself likely excluded from the ballot and having to run as a write-in candidate if he wants to stay in office:

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) appears to not have enough signatures to get on the Aug. 5 Democratic primary ballot, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett told the Detroit Free PressFriday.

At issue is whether two of the people in charge of gathering signatures for Conyers were registered voters, which is a requirement under Michigan law. Legal counsel for Conyersstressed to Roll Call that they expected him to make it onto the ballot.

A candidate must have at least 1,000 valid signatures to get on the ballot, according to Michigan law. In April, Conyers turned in 2,000 signatures to get on the ballot for his re-election. Garrett’s office said that 1,193 of those signatures were valid but if the two-vote gatherers were not registered voters, that puts Conyers under the minimum amount of valid signatures he needs to get on the ballot. Those signature-collectors gathered more than 300 signatures, according to the Free Press.

If Conyers cannot get on the Democratic primary ballot, he would have to run as a write-in candidate in order to retain his seat.

If Conyers is somehow re-elected, he will become the longest serving Member of Congress due to the retirement of his fellow Michigan Democrat John Dingell. How his campaign managed to make a mistake like this given the fact that Michigan’s ballot access laws aren’t very stringent, however, is unclear at the moment.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    It strikes me as more than a little odd that a sitting Congressman should need to gather signatures to appear on the ballot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  2. What is up with Congressmen from Michigan?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. DrDaveT says:

    In April, Conyers turned in 2,000 signatures to get on the ballot for his re-election. Garrett’s office said that 1,193 of those signatures were valid.

    Am I just naive, or is that a crazy high proportion of invalid signatures on the petition? 40%???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. PD Shaw says:

    @James Joyner: I thought the same thing when I was asked last year to sign a petition for Senator Durbin to run for re-election. Actually, my response was “Who is that. . . . Just kidding.” The kid was not amused.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. @PD Shaw:

    The kid was not amused.

    Probably because you were the 50th person to make that exact same joke that day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. Tillman says:

    @DrDaveT: Bad handwriting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    It strikes me as more than a little odd that a sitting Congressman should need to gather signatures to appear on the ballot.

    I know you’re all Establishment, but you really think that incumbents need yet another advantage?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0