DETROIT – Garlin Gilchrist II lost a close race to incumbent Janice Winfrey for the Detroit City Clerk seat on Nov. 7.
He's questioned whether the votes were tallied correctly after hearing "troubling accounts" from voters and now says he will submit a formal petition requesting a recount of absentee ballots.
"When I started this campaign earlier this year, my commitment was to bring trust, transparency and accountability to the election process in Detroit," Gilchrist said.
Gilchrist said he will request at a minimum that all 100 absentee voter counting boards, and possibly more precincts, be recounted. The cost will be $125 per precinct and the campaign raised the funds to pay the tab.
Here is Gilchrist's full statement from Nov. 8:
"We launched this campaign to make sure transparency was returned to the election process in the city of Detroit. After reviewing the unofficial returns and hearing troubling accounts from voters about their experiences, there are questions about yesterday’s election that give us concern about the vote tallies. We are looking into these issues and doing our due diligence and expect to make a decision in the next few days whether to file for a recount. I strongly believe that Detroit voters need to know their vote was counted and counted accurately. Regardless of the final result, I strongly believe that we all need to have trust in our election system especially going into the 2018 cycle and I want to do what’s in the best interest of Detroit voters."
It was the closest race in Detroit. Early results had Gilchrist in the lead, but a late surge attributed to absentee ballots for Winfrey gave her the election.
Winfrey has held the position since 2005. She was the favorite heading into this General Election after she won 51 percent of the vote in the August Primary Election.
Gilchrist said his people heard about numerous irregularities from voters who chose absentee ballots. He said voters also encountered irregularities at the polls.
Gilchrist won only 19 percent of the vote in August.
State law doesn't allow precincts to be recounted when the number of voters in the poll book doesn't match the number of ballots in the ballot box, so at this point, Gilcrhist doesn't know if he can even get a complete recount.