John Conyers may not qualify for primary ballot

Cue the world’s smallest violin. Veteran (almost 50 years) Democrat House member John Conyers managed to bungle the petition to put his name on the primary ballot, and may not be eligible for re-nomination to his seat on Congress.   Kathleen Gray and Todd Spangler of the Detroit Free Press report:

After a second review of petitions turned in by U.S. Rep. John Conyers, the Wayne County Clerk has found the longtime congressman only turned in 592 valid signatures, far short of the 1,000 needed to qualify for the Aug. 5 primary ballot.

The findings in the report, released today, don’t mean that Conyers is automatically off the ballot, though. Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett will make a final determination on his status on Tuesday and the Conyers campaign will have three days to appeal to the Michigan Secretary of State. They plan on doing so, said John Pirich, an attorney for Conyers.

“We remain optimistic that at the end of the day, there will be more than a sufficient number of signatures accepted, and that Congressman Conyers will appear on the ballot in August,” he said in a statement released Friday. “There are a number of strong arguments establishing this position - supported by fact, law and precedent - that we will put forth before the appropriate authorities.”

It’s those pesky details that did in the signature effort:

Conyers turned in 2,000 signatures on April 18. State law says that Conyers needs at least 1,000 valid signatures and they must come from and be gathered by registered voters.

The initial review showed 1,193 valid signatures. A second review showed 1,236 valid signatures, with 764 of the initial 2,000 signatures thrown out for a variety of reasons, including: petition signers not being registered to vote or not residents of 13th district, a signature being improperly dated or having a bad address.

But Garrett got reports from clerks in Detroit, Hamtramck and Ecorse that showed only five of eight circulators challenged by Conyers’ Democratic opponent, Rev. Horace Sheffield, were properly registered to vote, a requirement under state law. With that, the 644 signatures that those people collected were ruled invalid, leaving Conyers with only 592 valid signatures.

I wonder if Conyers will argue “signature suppression”? After all, if people should be able to vote without proving who they are, why should petition signers be “suppressed”? Then there is this delicious detail:

One of the petition circulators at center of the controversy, Daniel A. Pennington, 23, is a probation absconder out of Battle Creek. Records show he pleaded guilty to a home invasion charge in 2010 in Battle Creek and did not fulfill his probation requirement.

In other words, he is a fugitive from justice.

Conyers knows a lot about convicted offenders. His wife, Monica Conyers, formerly of the Detroit City Council, was sentenced to 37 months in prison in 2010 for accepting bribes.

Cue the world’s smallest violin. Veteran (almost 50 years) Democrat House member John Conyers managed to bungle the petition to put his name on the primary ballot, and may not be eligible for re-nomination to his seat on Congress.   Kathleen Gray and Todd Spangler of the Detroit Free Press report:

After a second review of petitions turned in by U.S. Rep. John Conyers, the Wayne County Clerk has found the longtime congressman only turned in 592 valid signatures, far short of the 1,000 needed to qualify for the Aug. 5 primary ballot.

The findings in the report, released today, don’t mean that Conyers is automatically off the ballot, though. Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett will make a final determination on his status on Tuesday and the Conyers campaign will have three days to appeal to the Michigan Secretary of State. They plan on doing so, said John Pirich, an attorney for Conyers.

“We remain optimistic that at the end of the day, there will be more than a sufficient number of signatures accepted, and that Congressman Conyers will appear on the ballot in August,” he said in a statement released Friday. “There are a number of strong arguments establishing this position - supported by fact, law and precedent - that we will put forth before the appropriate authorities.”

It’s those pesky details that did in the signature effort:

Conyers turned in 2,000 signatures on April 18. State law says that Conyers needs at least 1,000 valid signatures and they must come from and be gathered by registered voters.

The initial review showed 1,193 valid signatures. A second review showed 1,236 valid signatures, with 764 of the initial 2,000 signatures thrown out for a variety of reasons, including: petition signers not being registered to vote or not residents of 13th district, a signature being improperly dated or having a bad address.

But Garrett got reports from clerks in Detroit, Hamtramck and Ecorse that showed only five of eight circulators challenged by Conyers’ Democratic opponent, Rev. Horace Sheffield, were properly registered to vote, a requirement under state law. With that, the 644 signatures that those people collected were ruled invalid, leaving Conyers with only 592 valid signatures.

I wonder if Conyers will argue “signature suppression”? After all, if people should be able to vote without proving who they are, why should petition signers be “suppressed”? Then there is this delicious detail:

One of the petition circulators at center of the controversy, Daniel A. Pennington, 23, is a probation absconder out of Battle Creek. Records show he pleaded guilty to a home invasion charge in 2010 in Battle Creek and did not fulfill his probation requirement.

In other words, he is a fugitive from justice.

Conyers knows a lot about convicted offenders. His wife, Monica Conyers, formerly of the Detroit City Council, was sentenced to 37 months in prison in 2010 for accepting bribes.

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