AFSCME activist Robert Davis is also a member of the Highland Park School Board. He wants to run for re-election. He could -- because he is running in a non-partisan race -- use unregistered voters gather signatures for him.
John Conyers, however, is running for Congress. That's a partisan race. And under Michigan law, his petitions gatherers needed to be registered voters. It turns out two weren't and that may mean Conyers won't make the ballot.
So Davis has decided he wants to take up Conyers’ cause in court and is using his campaign to try and clear the way to help Conyers.
View/download: Robert Davis' court filing
It is convoluted, but simply put, two of Conyers’ circulators, according to Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, were not registered when they gathered signatures, and that means elections officials will likely throw out their petitions. If that happens, Conyers will not be on the August 5th primary ballot.
Davis, who believes this part of Michigan law is unconstitutional, says there are Supreme Court, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, and even Western Michigan District Court rulings all saying this corner of Michigan election law is unconstitutional. His 24 page pleading lays out all of this in detail.
By using himself as a “Guinea pig” so to speak, Davis hopes to get John Conyers on the ballot. Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett today said her office is in its third iteration of going over every circulator and every Conyers signature to make certain everything is managed to the letter of the law when it makes its final report on Friday.
The Secretary of State is likely to get involved at that point. But Davis is looking for the Secretary of State’s office to agree with him and change the law now. If not, he wants a speedy hearing in federal court with emergency treatment that might get him a decision within in a few weeks. So far no hearings are set.
This Conyers ballot situation is quickly taking on the look of campaigns we’ve witnessed in the City of Detroit over the past year. You will recall it was Davis who sued to keep Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan off the ballot last summer.
Duggan had to run and win as a write in. Conyers may have to do the same if Davis doesn’t prevail in court.
It is also incumbent on us to report that Davis has been federally indicted for alleged wrongdoing regarding his time on the Highland Park School Board.