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Monday, May 27, 2013

Op/Ed: Unequal treatment under Detroit Charter: Marc Cayce removed; Mike Duggan stays on ballot - not meeting residency requirements

Photo Credit - Marc Cayce
Former Candidate for Detroit City Council -Ward 1 Marc Cayce
will appear Exclusively on Independent Underground Radio LIVE
Tuesday, May 28th @ 11 AM ET

Independent Underground News & Talk Op/Ed

For election results can be accepted without question, the highest levels of integrity must exist throughout the entire process. From how a candidate petition signatures met the minimum standards of quantity and qualification with election statues in a locality, to how all candidates are treated by a clerk or elections division, under the law.

Many cities in Michigan have what is called "residency requirements" imploring potential candidates seeking to win election for a official office, to live with the city, village, township or county for a period of time. For the purposes of this article, we'll discuss the residency requirement within Detroit's City Charter.

Meet Marc Cayce. Mr. Cayce was a candidate for Detroit City Council Ward 1. Using the past-tense adverb of "was" be an important factor as this article continues.

As a native Detroit resident, Marc Cayce candidacy for City Council appeared set to move forward. Campaign materials purchased, candidate outreach discussions were made to the community, and an election team consisting of volunteers who felt Cayce would exemplify their voice on local affairs formed. Why would Cayce readily assume he did not meet all requirements as a candidate for Detroit's City Council Ward 1? Especially after receiving this letter from Detroit's Election Commission noted below.
Photo Credit - Marc Cayce
(Click on Picture to Enlarge)
Marc Cayce candidacy was not to be. The Detroit City Charter in Sections 2-101 & 3-111 states candidates seeking nomination for an elected office in the City of Detroit must be a United States citizen, a qualified/registered voter of Detroit for one (1) year prior to filing for office and maintain a principal residence in the City for one (1) year before filing for office.

Two months, two weeks and four days to the day Cayce was informed he met all qualifications for his name to be included on the ballot as a candidate for Detroit City Council, on May 16, 2013 Cayce was removed from the ballot completely.

Cayce temporary left Detroit in 2008, moved back January 2010, and registered to vote in the City at the same time in July 2012. When filing signature nomination petitions for Detroit's City Council Ward 1 position in February 2013, Cayce was not qualified to have his name included on the ballot at all, except as a write-in candidate.

Photo Credit-Marc Cayce
(Click on Picture to Enlarge)

On the surface it would appear this story is over. Many of our readers will rightfully ask what is the purpose of this article and why are we injecting the name of Marc Cayce? Specifically, Cayce was removed from Detroit's August 6, 2013 primary ballot for residency requirements and another candidate seeking election as Mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan (D) was not.

Photo Credit
Detroit Mayoral Candidate Mike Duggan (D), who
remains on the August 6th primary ballot for similar
reasons former Detroit City Council Candidate -Ward 1
Marc Cayce was removed.
"The Detroit Election Commission voted Thursday to keep Mike Duggan's name on the mayoral ballot, despite claims that he filed too early. Duggan hadn't yet been a registered Detroit voter for a full year when he filed petitions for the mayoral race on April 2, 2013. He became a registered resident on April 16, 2012."
Let's break this down a bit for our readers. Marc Cayce -former candidate for Ward-1 Detroit City Council was removed from his name being included on the August 6, 2013, primary ballot. On May 16, 2013, Detroit's Election Commission mailed Cayce notification he did not meet the residency requirement, per the City's Charter.

Meanwhile, Detroit Mayoral candidate Mike Duggan was allowed to have his name remain on the August 6, 2013 ballot for not meeting the residency requirements on Thursday, May 23, 2013 with a 2 to 1 decision by Detroit's Election Commission. Is this seeming a bit strange yet?

Detroit's City Charter is clear in intent and meaning. No potential candidate for elected office in Detroit name can be officially included on the ballot --general or primary election-- unless they remain physical residency in Detroit for one (1) year, is a United States citizen, and is registered to vote from a Detroit address one (1) year prior to filing for office.

"What the Detroit Charter says 
Section 2-101: “A person seeking elective office must be a citizen of the United States, a resident and a qualified registered voter of the City of Detroit for one (1) year at the time of filing for office and retain that status throughout their tenure in any such elective office. 
Section 3-111: “All candidates for elective office and elected officials shall be bona fide residents of the City of Detroit and must maintain their principal residence in the City of Detroit for one (1) year at the time of filing for office or appointment to office."
Which is exactly why Marc Cayce removed as a eligible candidate for Detroit City Council Ward 1, as he registered to vote from a residence in Detroit in July 2012 and filed his petition signatures for inclusion on Detroit's August 6th primary ballot, February of 2013.

Ironically, Mike Duggan - former CEO of the Detroit Medical Center, Wayne County Prosecutor and Secretary of the Educational Achievement Authority was granted a unusual and first of its kind, exemption to remain on the ballot for the exact same reason Marc Cayce was removed-- not completely meeting a Candidacy for Elected Office in Detroit -- City Charter Residency requirements.

Detroit Mayoral Candidate Tom Barrow leveled a compliant on May 20, 2013, with Detroit's Election Commission requesting Duggan's removal the similar reason Cayce was removed. A copy of the complaint text forwarded to Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey (D) by the Barrow's Campaign is below:

Photo Credit - Tom Barrow for Mayor Campaign
(Click on picture above to enlarge)
Photo Credit - Tom Barrow for Mayor Campaign
(Click on picture above to enlarge)

Tom Barrow's complaint and Detroit's Election Commission disqualification letter to Marc Cayce references the exact language contained in Detroit's Charter verbatim. The vote to allow Duggan's exemption Detroit's statutory charter law was made by Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey and Interim City Corporation Edward Keelan. Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh was the sole vote to remove Duggan from August 6th ballot.

After the decision, Pugh made the following statement to M-Live on Duggan's name remaining on the ballot.

"I really feel like the Duggan campaign messed up," (Pugh) said after being outvoted, 2-1. 
He said he believes Duggan, a former Detroit Medical Center CEO and former Wayne County Prosecutor, would make a good mayor, but that the charter makes it clear that a candidate must be a resident for a full year, not by the May 14 filing deadline, but by the time of the actual filing. 
"But it's a moot point now. Two of the commissioners didn't agree with me and his name is on the ballot," Pugh said.
Is it really a "moot point" especially since Marc Cayce name remains off Detroit's August 6th Primary Election Ballot for City Council Ward 1 position? Furthermore, what about Mike Duggan ties to at least two and possibly three members of Detroit Election Commission Complaint review team?

"Pugh’s former chief of staff, Bryan Barnhill, works for Duggan’s campaign; Winfrey’s husband, Tyrone Winfrey, works for the state’s Educational Achievement Administration, on which Duggan was a board member until he resigned recently; and, Barrow claims, Keelean and Duggan had a professional relationship in the past. That claim could not be confirmed late Wednesday."
Although the Detroit Free Press failed to confirm any relationship between Duggan and Interim City Corporation Council Keelean, it would be wise to note Attorney Edward Keelean is a lawyer with a practice in Detroit and Mayoral Candidate Mike Duggan is a lawyer who was Wayne County Prosecutor from 2001-2003.

Former Detroit Charter Revision Commissioner from 2009-2012 and current CEO of Detroit's Black Chamber of Commerce Ken L. Harris-- wrote the below statement via Facebook on May 22, 2013 regarding the intent of Detroit City Charter Provision 3-111 meaning, on his behalf.
"A Charter Provision to Protect Legitimate Detroit Residents Interest 
Although I can speak only for myself, as a former Detroit Charter Revision Commissioner, I can tell you that the citizens of Detroit aggressively advocated for the 1-year residency requirement for anyone seeking elected office at-large or in newly formed council districts.  
The decision to require that all candidates meet the Detroit City Charter residency requirements at least 1 year prior to the date of filing was to ensure that residents were a vital part of the community prior to seeking office. The Detroit Charter unambiguously says the following:  
Section 2-101: “A person seeking elective office must be a citizen of the United States, a resident and a qualified registered voter of the City of Detroit for one (1) year at the time of filing for office and retain that status throughout their tenure in any such elective office.”
Section 3-111: “All candidates for elective office and elected officials shall be bona fide residents of the City of Detroit and must maintain their principal residence in the City of Detroit for one (1) year at the time of filing for office or appointment to office.”
The citizens unequivocally termed the word filing to construct a clearly defined, measurable and certifiable policy to qualify anyone seeking office, and to determine their time as an official resident and voter of Detroit. We wanted the language to be unmistakably and explicitly easy to interpret by registered voters and residents for accountability purposes.  
In essence, I supported the residency requirement to safeguard proper representation of the Detroit taxpayer, voter, and resident. In political economies such as Detroit’s, residents should have a voice at every level of government and its necessary accountability, without the influence of special interests. We eliminated any ambiguity, leaving virtually no wiggle room for misinterpretation of the new law adopted by the citizens during the Detroit Charter Revision process.  
Although I do not and cannot speak on behalf of the other former Detroit Charter Revision Commissioners or the commission’s staff, I do give my opinion on behalf of the Detroit citizens who participated in the process to adopt the language and the thousands of Detroit voters who approved the new Detroit City Charter in 2012. This is not an official statement of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce and or other leadership roles I serve in other capacities. Those who did not participate in Detroit’s last electoral process may or may not be aware of what the Detroit Charter Revision Process entailed, which Detroit voiced and endured for government accountability.  
Respectful of the Citizens of Detroit,
Ken L. Harris
Former Member of the Detroit Charter Revision Commission (2009–2012)"
What will occur to Marc Cayce quest for candidacy on August 6th Detroit Primary Ballot? For now Cayce's only chance to be elected as representative for City Council Ward 1, exist with a write-in candidacy and will he run as a write-in? If Cayce was Mike Duggan or had Duggan's connections in Detroit's and/or Wayne County's political scene, would he have received the same exemption to clear rules as one Candidate for Mayor did? Will Cayce involve legal assistance to pursue his case in the immediate future?

Only Marc Cayce can answer the above posed questions. With such, Mr. Cayce will appear as our Exclusive Guest on Independent Underground Radio LIVE, Tuesday, May 28 @ 11:00 AM ET.

If you, care about election fairness, integrity of the vote and equal treatment under the law regardless of one name or personal connections, listen to Cayce's interview on IU Radio LIVE -MICHIGAN TOP POLITICO PODCAST - featured on the Blog Talk Radio Network and share this broadcast with your friends, family and others.

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Monica RW said...

Thank you for writing this article. Marc is a wonderful person who has done many things to enhance Detroit as a resident and community leader. Its' a crying shame Marc is off the ballot while other people that moved into our City just to run for Mayor (Carpetbagging of sorts) is own. I hope this wrong is correctly as soon as possible.

Will tune into your show tomorrow also when you'll interview Marc.

Monica RW said...

It this a Black and White thing as the White guy gets favors and the Black guy gets the shaft? Why didn't these people on the election commission recluse themselves as clear as a blue sky without clouds conflicts of interest existed. I would hate to have to be a regular guy/gal running for election in Detroit as they get screwed like in this guys case.

Monica RW said...

Stories like this is why the blogging world exist. Cayce would have probably never had his story told in local media.

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