Duggan’s team cries election fraud
DETROIT — After Wayne County Board of Canvassers found write-in candidate Mike Duggan had almost 20,000 less votes than what was reported on election night, making him the second place primary winner, the Duggan camp responded by accusing his challenger and others of fraud.
The Board of Canvassers, during their Aug. 20 meeting, said the Detroit Department of Elections did not follow state guidelines and incorrectly called a margin for Duggan.
The Duggan campaign responded by accusing Sheriff Benny Napoleon, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett, among others of election fraud or otherwise interfering with the election process.
“The county clerk is closely allied with my opponent,” Duggan said in an interview with WDIV. According to Duggan, the county clerk was responsible for “canceling 20,000 votes.”
In an official statement, Duggan’s Campaign Manager Bryan Barnhill said he believes Sheriff Napoleon’s campaign is behind the Board of Canvassers’ findings.
“Our opponents tried another dirty trick today, and it didn’t work,” Barnhill wrote in a press statement. “To its credit, the Board of Canvassers unanimously refused to disenfranchise 18,000 Detroiters who properly cast their write-in votes for Mike Duggan. We’re confident the State Elections Division will certify the results of the election properly and make certain that all votes are counted.”
Duggan echoed these comments following the Board of Canvassers’ decision on FOX2.
However, just days before, Duggan promised a positive race in the following campaign message: “I’m asking all my supporters across Detroit to please focus your conversation on the positive reasons you’re supporting me and why you believe we can rebuild this city together … Please refrain from engaging in negative attacks on Sheriff Napoleon. It’s not the kind of campaign I want to run.”
At press time, the Duggan campaign had not offered evidence to this newspaper of their accusations.
Garrett points out that the Wayne County clerk not only has no authority over the Board of Canvassers but was neither involved in the canvass or the Aug. 20 decision to not certify the election. Canvassers are recommended by congressional district with Wayne County Commissioners confirming their appointment.
“I would put my character and integrity beyond Mr. Duggan’s at any time,” said Clerk Garrett in a phone interview. “Statutorily, I am the clerk to the Board of Canvassers, however, I have no authority as clerk (over) the board. The four individuals (on the board) — that is the authority base.”
According to Garrett, the clerk essentially sets agendas and meeting dates for the officials.
“I am insulted (by Duggan’s accusations) because I think my record speaks for itself,” Garrett said.
Duggan campaign attorney Melvin “Butch” Hollowell, who is also counsel for the Detroit Branch NAACP, said the Board of Canvassers “made up a rule” when they would not certify the Detroit city election results.
Yet, according to the Michigan State Bureau of Elections, poll workers must follow the hash mark system, which is a pivotal process for write-in elections. Board of Canvassers found the Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey did not follow the process.
Garrett said her office “follows the law and processes.” She believes the Duggan campaign contributes to voter cynicism and says she supports a federal monitor in the upcoming general election.
“I think it is equally outrageous for either candidate to blame the other of tampering with the election process because they have nothing to do with it,” said Garrett. “I can only speak to the processes this office runs by. But the intent that everyone should have is a fair and honest election. That is why I am in total agreement. The feds should come in.”