“We hold that Duggan has not met the qualifications for elected office by the plain terms contained in the charter,” said the majority opinion in a 2-1 decision.
On May 23, 2013, the Detroit Elections Commission in a 2 to 1 decision led by City Clerk Janice Winfrey (D) and intern Detroit Legal Council Edward Keelen found that Duggan despite not meeting the City Charter Requirements for residency has defined in section 3-111, was eligible in error, to have his name appear on the ballot.
Siding against the majority's ruling, current City Council President Charles Pugh said to the Detroit Free Press, “I really feel like the Duggan campaign messed up.”
Detroit Mayoral Candidate Tom Barrow, who faced a media firestorm challenging Duggan's residency status in his attempt to run for Detroit's highest elected office, efforts were justified by the Michigan Court of Appeals ruling today, and with Wayne County 3th Circuit Court Lita Masini Popke decision last week agreeing for Duggan's name removal from the August 6th primary ballot.
Barrow talked exclusively with Independent Underground Radio LIVE host Monica RW regarding his effort for justice for Detroit's voting residents on June 11, 2013.
"I have to tell your folks who are listening that I don't even know Mr. Duggan as a individual. All I know is that the Detroit City Charter is explicit. It says that in order to be a candidate for office in Detroit, you have to be a Detroit voter for one year. That's just clear," Barrow stated. "So then the City Clerk (Janice Winfrey) put off the ballot three or four people that had not been residents for one year." "And when it came to enforcing the same provision for Mr. Duggan, who of course is very wealthy, they kind of winked at it. They (Detroit Elections Commission majority) did not do that. It's not fair and it is not right," Barrow explained. "You should not have to go thought all of this to seek justice when the Charter is so clear and explicit. This should have been a ministerial matter and now its' been politicized because the Detroit City Clerk did not do her job. And the court agreed Mr. Duggan is not qualified to be on the ballot."
It is unknown if the Duggan campaign will attempt a last state of appeal to Michigan's Supreme Court after this afternoon decision by the States' Appeals Court affirming the lower judicial branch Judge Popke ruling last week. According to the Detroit Free Press, City Election officials express they are running short of time to print and mail absentee ballots for the upcoming August 6th primary if Duggan decides to carry on with the judicial process.
"This is the best solution for the City of Detroit. The Court in upholding the new Detroit City Charter restores Detroiters' faith in the objective rule of law and in treating all citizens the same regardless of wealth and stature. The Appeals Court has affirmed the wisdom of the people when they approved the new City Charter last year with the requirement that a candidate must be, at a minimum, a registered voter and resident of the city for at least one year as was the intent of the Charter Commission. Our biggest concern was that the integrity of the election process be respected by those who would move to our great city seeking public office. It must be known that Detroit is a community which respects the rules of law and fair play and applies these rules to everyone, whether rich or otherwise. An incredible amount of money has been expended during by all sides of this legal battle, all of which was unnecessary and should have been avoided had the Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey upheld her oath of office and not favored one office seeker over others who were not allowed onto the ballot based on the same Charter violation. This a la carte style of ballot access Ms. Winfrey engaged in must be stopped and it is her stewardship of the elections process that has caused this case to go this far, disrupting Detroit's campaign an political process. The Appellate Court's decision today is a stark repudiation of her stewardship over the Elections Division of the City of Detroit. She refused to recuse herself due to her personal relationship and support of a candidate that the Court has now ruled should not have been approved for the ballot in the first place had she and the city's Corporation Counsel fairly and objectively interpreted the common sense plain language of the Charter. In the best interest of all of the residents of the City of Detroit, Ms. Winfrey must immediately resign and take responsibility for this debacle in the wake of this devastating decision against her judgment and performance as City Clerk, she has cost the city and the parties enough money and humiliation. At this point our total focus will shift entirely to promoting our programs for rebuilding Detroit's job base, creating incentives for businesses to be created and grown, and providing an ambitious plan to finance public safety long-term. Our campaign moves forward from here to victory on August 6 and ultimately success in November."
A statement released by Duggan's campaign stated the former candidate “take the rest of the day to consider his options” and hold a news conference at his campaign headquarters at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Duggan could run as a write-in candidate according to rules in Detroit's City Charter as an alternative option in his quest for Mayor.
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