129 candidates turn in signatures for Detroit's November ballot, 1/3 disqualified

Potential candidates disqualified from Detroit's November ballot over voter signature issues

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®

DETROIT - It's supposed to be a fairly straight-forward task, when someone wants to run for office they must collect enough voter signatures to get onto an election ballot.

For many candidates problems with the process are causing them to get kicked off that ballot. The rules are strict, and this year they're changing in the city of Detroit.

Detroit moved to a district system, which means candidates need to gather signatures in their district alone.

The bar proved very high to clear for a third of the candidates hoping to be part of Detroit's turn around.

The Detroit November ballot:

  • 129 residents filed for mayor, city council, police commission and clerk.
  • 6 didn't meet the residency requirements
  • 36, nearly a third, didn't gather enough signatures and 1 ended up disqualified.

Missing the mark took on a whole new meaning with the Rev. Jim Holley who was vying for a seat on the Detroit Police Commission. He needed 300 signatures, turned in 336 and wound up with just 9 of those approved.

Detroit's Election Chairman Daniel Baxter says it's all about the change to districts.

"We did have a number of folks who did not meet the qualifications in terms of signatures," said Baxter. "Many folks were disqualified because they circulated their petition citywide and as a consequence they did not meet that 300 threshold."

Over in the City Council race William Scott Phillips turned in 372 of the required 300 signatures. He wound up with only 41 or 11 percent approved.

Attie Pollard put in a lot of leg work and turned in 542 signatures but ended up with only 102, or 19 percent approved.

"They can't just stand at a grocery store and have folk circulating their petitions and signing them. You have to be district specific," said Baxter.

Another interesting thing about this election process in Detroit, there is no doubt the city's financial crisis gave a lot of Detroiters pause about running, particularly for mayor.

Baxter says four years ago 235 people ran for mayor, this time it is only 50 candidates.