Mayoral Candidate Wages Court Battle Seeking a “Legal, Not Political, Decision”
May 30, 2013
DETROIT (May 30) — Mayoral candidate Tom Barrow, in just minutes, will take the next step in his fight to remove opponent Mike Duggan from the August 6th primary election ballot by going directly to the Wayne County Circuit Court. Barrow filed suit this morning seeking a Mandamus order to force the Detroit Elections Commission to remove Mike Duggan’s name from the primary ballot.
“Last week all we got was a ‘political’ decision,” said Barrow, 64. “No one is above the law, so this week we are seeking a ‘legal’ decision based on a plain reading of our city’s Charter, the case law and legal precedents, not political trickery.”
Barrow has asked for an emergency hearing on the residency issue and a declarative judgment to settle the plain language interpretation of the Detroit’s charter meaning of the words “at the time of filing” which means the moment an office seeker files documents to become a candidate (Barrow’s plain reading) or does it mean “by a filing deadline date which could be weeks later [May 14]”, which is the position of the Duggan campaign.
Barrow, joined by Citizens United Against Corrupt Government and led by community activist Robert Davis is challenging the 2-1 vote by the Detroit Election Commission. The city’s election board is comprised of the Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, City Council President Charles Pugh and the Interim Corporation Counsel Edward Keelean. Pugh was the only dissenting vote citing the “plain language of the City Charter”.
Unlike the political opinion delivered by the Corporation Counsel and presented at the Detroit Election Commission last Thursday, containing no citations to Michigan law or legal precedents, Barrow’s court filing presents a detailed legal argument complete with multiple supporting Michigan case law and statutes.
Barrow’s original complaint, filed on May 14, 2013, cited Duggan’s deficiency as a candidate when he failed to fulfill the requirement that he be a registered voter in the city of Detroit for one full year “at the time of filing.” Duggan registered to vote on April 16, 2012 after moving from his home in Livonia, but filed his nominating petitions on April 2, 2013, some 14-days before he was eligible (his one year fell on April 16, 2013).
“This is wrong that there is no objective administrative appeal process which could have avoided any candidate having to spend their own dollars to go to court,” stated Barrow, an accountant ,”but the political elite counts on these barriers and fake polling to maintain their status quo power and influence, but I am committed to defeat that set-up and create a new paradigm for our city, which is what we all believed the new City Charter would do in plain English, not legalese, double-speak and coded political terms. Duggan is not above the law and we’ll ask the judge.”
According to the Third Judicial Circuit Court website, oral arguments on Barrow’s lawsuit are to be heard Tues. June 11 at 2 p.m. in front of Judge Lita Popke.