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Detroit mayor count in chaos as Wayne County refuses to certify primary results

August 20, 2013

A state election panel will have to decide who really won the Detroit mayoral primary after Wayne County election officials on Tuesday refused to certify new election results, which would have invalidated about 20,000 votes and handed the primary win to Benny Napoleon instead of Mike Duggan. The county board was debating whether to invalidate more than 20,000 write-in votes that were not recorded at polling locations using hash marks, which would cause the result of the Aug. 6 primary to be flipped - with Napoleon receiving more votes than write-in candidate Duggan. Jocelyn Benson, interim dean of Wayne State University's Law School, said there is no language in state law that requires the recording of hash marks for write-in votes to be counted. "Nothing in the law says these ballots - if properly cast - should, as a result of an error in tallying, not ultimately be counted," she said. Further, the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that a vote for a write-in candidate should count when the voter's intent is clear. Benson said the Wayne County board is proceeding properly by handing off the issue to the state. Benson also appeared on a WXYZ-TV segment.