The State Board of Canvassers voted unanimously to certify Detroit’s primary election following weeks of debate over write-in ballots.
Election workers last week tabulated nearly 18,000 ballots from the Aug. 6 election, which had been spread over more than 179 of 614 voting precincts in Detroit.
Wayne County canvassers referred the ballots to the state because they were tallied numerically by city elections workers instead of with hash marks.
Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett has blamed City Clerk Janice Winfrey for the problem. Winfrey has said workers were trained to use hash marks, but some ballots were counted with numerals.
The ballots have now been counted three times.
County canvassers said they counted 23,970 valid write-in votes for former medical center chief Mike Duggan and about 28,300 for Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.
However, the State Board of Canvassers' figures show Duggan received 48,716 write-in votes which is an additional 24,746 valid votes.
The Detroit city clerk had reported on election night that Duggan received more than 44,000 write-in votes.
Edna Wilcoxon, one of the candidates for city clerk, tried to derail the process with a court challenge which got soundly squashed by the Court of Appeals late Friday.
Regardless, Napoleon and Duggan finished ahead of the other candidates and will face off in the November general election.
Napoleon released the following statement after Tuesday's certification:
"The State Board of Canvassers' certification of Detroit's primary election with a result that is strikingly different than two previous counts by the city clerk and county clerk, respectively, gravely concerns me. Whether Mr. Duggan receives 4,000 more votes or 10,000 more votes, the issue remains that we have problems with accurately counting the votes. How can we come up with three vote counts that are vastly different and be okay with this? First and foremost, we must protect the sanctity of the vote. At a historic time when we face challenges to our democracy in this city, Detroit voters need to be assured -- beyond any doubt -- that their vote will be counted and counted accurately. A few weeks ago I called for federal oversight of the November 5th General Election. I continue to stand on that request now more than ever. In the end, no matter who becomes the Mayor, the power of the vote must be honored and respected."