NPR : News

Filed Under:

Longtime Congressman John Conyers Off Primary Ballot

Rep. John Conyers of Detroit, who's served in the U.S. House for nearly five decades, has failed to collect enough valid signatures to appear on the Aug. 5 Democratic primary ballot, a local election official says.

Quinn Klinefelter of member station WDET reports:

"Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett found that some campaign workers who gathered petition signatures to place Conyers on the primary ballot were not registered voters.

"That violates state election law and could force Conyers to run an always-tough write-in campaign."

"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 cited by The Detroit Free Press. "Although I am not the final arbiter, I eagerly await the courts' review of the constitutionality of the laws and statutes pertaining to petition circulators."

Garrett says her office found only 592 of the necessary 1,000 signatures are valid, according to Michigan Radio.

John Pirich, an attorney for the Conyers campaign, said the circulators "were constructively registered. They filled out voter applications and turned them in through a third party at a voter registration fair."

As NPR's Frank James wrote on Monday:

"What makes the predicament so astounding is that Conyers, an 84-year-old (he turns 85 on May 16) civil rights icon and a founder and dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, is following in the footsteps of a similar 2012 mishap by another Michigan congressman Thaddeus McCotter."

"The current lapse has caused some Conyers watchers — who were already questioning whether the octogenarian was still up to the job — to call for him to retire. They point to what they say are signs that he's lost more than a few steps."

The Associated Press writes:

"Conyers has three days to appeal Garrett's ruling to the Michigan Secretary of State.

"Federal court actions, meanwhile, are taking aim at the requirement that petition collectors be registered voters. The ACLU has filed suit to change state law. If neither happens, Conyers can run as a write-in. If he wins the primary as a write-in, he would qualify for the general election ballot."

Conyers has served since 1965.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Star Wars' Editors Defy Hollywood Conventions

In a film industry often dominated by men, there's at least one exception: Many editors are women. Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey speak about their work on the new Star Wars.
NPR

Florida Says Its Fruits, Vegetables Are Safe From Invasive Fruit Fly

Since September, Florida has been fighting an infestation of the Oriental fruit fly, an invasive pest that threatened more than 400 crops. The state declared the insect eradicated as of Saturday.
NPR

Who Are The Possible Candidates To Fill Scalia's Seat?

Any pick by President Obama is sure to touch off a tough confirmation fight. But who will be at the center of the fray? Here are a few likely candidates.
NPR

West Point Students' Plan To Counter ISIS Online Strategy

The State Department sponsored a contest to find the best ways to combat ISIS propaganda online. A group of cadets from West Point got second prize. Rachel Martin speaks with team member CJ Drew.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.