DETROIT – Veteran U.S. Congressman John Conyers does not have enough signatures to get on the Aug. 5 primary ballot, according to Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett.
Garrett told Local 4 on Friday that the signatures of two of Conyers' circulators appear to be invalid.
However, she said this is not the final decision on the issue. That will come by May 7, following an investigation into a formal challenge of Conyers' signatures.
If he doesn't get on the ballot, Conyers will have to run as a write-in candidate for his 26th term. The 84-year-old Detroit Democrat is coming up on 50 years in the U.S. House of Representatives.
He needed 1,000 valid voter signatures to get his name on the ballot.
On Wednesday, one of the Deputy Clerks, who did not want to appear on camera, told Local 4 Conyers qualified with 1,193 total signatures. Conyers put out a statement saying the Clerk's Office verified his petitions.
"I am pleased that the County Clerk has determined that there are a sufficient number of signatures to allow my name to appear on the ballot in the upcoming August 5th primary election. I look forward to a full and robust campaign in the primary and general elections," Conyers' statement reads.
However, Conyers' statement was premature as Garrett now says Conyers does not appear to have enough valid signatures on his nominating petitions.
At issue are two of Conyers' petition gatherers who apparently were not registered voters, as required by Michigan law, when they canvassed voters for signatures. That means any signatures they collected would be declared invalid and, apparently, that drops the 50-year Congressional veteran below the petition threshold to appear on the ballot.
Garrett reportedly had been on vacation this week. Her comments Friday to Local 4 are the first time Garrett has personally spoken about the controversy.