DETROIT (AP) — About 18,000 Detroit mayoral primary write-in ballots will be counted by state officials after a county board of canvassers refused to do so because they were tallied numerically instead of with hash marks.
A four-member state canvassers’ board is expected to meet next week in Detroit and spend a day or so tabulating only the uncounted ballots, said Michigan Elections Director Chris Thomas.
County elections officials asked the state Tuesday to review the results of the Aug. 6 non-partisan primary and left the election uncertified. They said city elections workers in 179 precincts failed to use hash marks when counting completed write-in ballots. The deadline to certify the election was Tuesday.
“Any error of an election official should never disenfranchise a voter,” Thomas said.
Only the 18,000 ballots in question will be reviewed.
“The state board will review where the county board left off, looking at the county sheets to ascertain what the issue is,” Thomas said. “This is not a recount. This is an attempt to get a certifiable election result.”
The issue may only impact the placement of who finished as the top vote-getter in the primary. Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon and former Detroit Medical Center Chief Mike Duggan finished far ahead of the other candidates and still will face each other in the November general election.
Unofficial results released by Detroit elections officials after the Aug. 6 primary showed Duggan received 44,395 write-in votes.
County canvassers said Tuesday that they counted about 24,000 valid votes for Duggan and about 28,300 for Napoleon, a former Detroit police chief.
Duggan ran as a write-in candidate after a residency issue forced his name off the primary ballot. His name will be on the November ballot.
Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey said Wednesday that county canvassers failed to contact her about the uncounted ballots.