Warren mayoral candidate fights over absentee ballots

By Priya Mann - Reporter, Dane Sager Kelly - Web Producer

A Warren councilwoman running for mayor is accusing the city of bullying tactics. 

Kelly Colegio mailed voters applications for absentee ballots, but the city claims some of the content was illegal.

"My campaign feels it is voter suppression," Colegio said.

Colegio is challenging Jim Fouts as mayor of Warren, the third largest city in Michigan. She said the applications for absentee ballots she sent didn't violate the law.

"I'm being harassed," Colegio said. "I'm just trying to help citizens with the right to vote."

Ethan Vinson, Warren's city attorney, said it has nothing to do with voter suppression, but that there were concerns about the letters Colegio were mailing, beginning with the envelopes.

"It was remarkably similar to the envelopes the clerk sent out when she mailed out the applications," Vinson said. "It was missing a seal."

City officials claim the political material included was against the law and made it appear as though the city clerk had endorsed Colegio.

"One would think it came from the clerk's office," Vinson said. 

In response, Colegio's lawyer said the incident is a baseless effort at bullying someone who happens to be a political opponent of the mayor.

"That's not bullying," Vinson said. "We're telling her, 'Why don't you follow the law?'"

Colegio said she wants the Attorney General and Secretary of State to oversee the Nov. 5 election.

The city said it will accept the absentee ballot applications that have already been mailed to voters.