Duggan ordered off ballot
Barrow wins court case
By Zenobia Jeffries
The Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — Wayne County Circuit Judge Lita M. Popke ordered Mike Duggan off the August mayoral primary ballot June 11 due to his failure to fulfill the Detroit City Charter requirement to be a registered voter for a year at the time of filing his candidacy.
Duggan says he will appeal.
“The charter is badly drafted,” Duggan said June 12 at a press conference announcing he’s not backing out of the 2013 mayor’s race.
Duggan expects the Michigan Court of Appeals to hear the case by next week.
In a 22-page decision, Popke said the City Charter’s language was “clear” and “unambiguous.”
Mayoral candidate Tom Barrow responded to Duggan’s decision to appeal the court judgment saying Duggan will lose.
“Duggan is free to appeal to the state courts, the U.S. Supreme Court, the World Court at The Hague and even Captain Kirk’s United Federation of Planets, the result will be the same because the decision is rooted in the case law and state statutes,” said Barrow in a press statement.
“So many in Detroit believe that the legal system is ‘flexible’ and accommodates the wealthy and powerful … (The decision) restores a modicum of confidence necessary for governing.”
Duggan is looking to the case of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. Emmanuel was initially removed from the Chicago ballot but was reinstated by the Court of Appeals and went on to win the mayoral contest.
Duggan says he will prevail.
“If you look at the commentary in the Charter, it was intended to make sure you had resided in this city a year before you had to file. It indicates, as derived from the state law where filing clearly says, filing deadline,” says Duggan.
“You don’t like to see a judge who’s written a 22-page opinion before she’s heard the oral argument. That’s not normally the way you’d like to see a case of this magnitude be decided.”
Barrow says the appeal will be “divisive” for the city.
“Where the decision restores confidence in the judicial system, his attempt to appeal continues to create an atmosphere of privilege where money trumps the law,” said Barrow.
Ballots for the primary election have to be printed within the next three weeks.
Barrow and labor activist Robert Davis challenged Duggan’s candidacy last month. Both argued Duggan did not live in the city a full year when he turned in his petition signatures April 2. Duggan did not become a registered voter in the city of Detroit until April 16, 2012.
The Detroit Election Commission voted 2-1 to place Duggan on the ballot May 30. The commission is made up of City Clerk Janice Winfrey, Corporation Counsel Edward Keelean and City Council President Charles Pugh. Pugh voted not to put Duggan on the ballot.
“The reality is he was not living in the city or registered to vote for a year when he filed to run for mayor,” Pugh said.