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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Michigan court upholds omission of Conyers III's name from ballot because of lack of valid signatures


By Elizabeth Alt | Jun 27, 2018

LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) – Michigan’s Court of Appeals issued a ruling on June 12 affirming the Wayne County Circuit Court's decision to deny John Conyers III’s petition for a court order that would put his name back in the running as a candidate for the 13th Congressional District.

The appellate court concurred in the unpublished opinion, with Judges Christopher M. Murray, Cynthia Diane Stephens and Michael J. Riordan sitting on the panel. The circuit court decision to deny writ of mandamus was affirmed.

Conyers filed a petition requesting a writ of mandamus against the Wayne County Clerk and the Wayne County Election Commission. Conyers filed a petition with the required 1,000 signatures to be placed on the Aug. 7 ballot as a candidate for the 13th Congressional District. 

The Wayne County Clerk disqualified Conyers from the congressional race after finding that 57 signatures for the full term and 106 signatures for the partial term were not valid. The clerk submitted the candidate list to the Wayne County Electoral Commission without Conyers on the list.

The trial court dismissed Conyers’ claims, finding no violation of due process. The court order stated Conyers failed to establish valid reasons for the court to issue a writ mandamus, noting that the county clerk used her discretion to determine that certain signatures were not valid, there were disputed facts, and that "there is another remedy, which is to have a write-in campaign.” 

Conyers requested an expedited appeal as the election draws near and claims the writ of mandamus should be granted because the signatures he provided were valid.  

The appellate court pointed out that the standards to establish granting writ of mandamus clearly state “mandamus may not be issued where disputed facts exist.”

The court order stated, “Because of the existence of this inherently factual dispute, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied plaintiff’s complaint for a writ of mandamus.”

Michigan Court of Appeals case number 344171

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