Should John Conyers be on the primary ballot?

By Jeff Wattrick - Web Editor
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John Conyers has represented Detroit in Congress since 1965. His effort to win a 26th term this fall has hit a road block as Local 4 discovered two of Conyers' petition circulators were not, as Michigan law requires, registered voters when they gathered signatures.

Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett says that without those petitions, Conyers likely lacks enough signatures to make the August primary ballot.

If the veteran lawmaker is left off the ballot, he could run as a write-in candidate.

But here's another wrinkle: Conyers could also challenge the constitutionality of the voter registration requirement for petition gatherers.

Back in 1999, a 6-3 Supreme Court ruling overturned Colorado's registered voter requirement for circulators gathering signatures for ballot measures.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote the majority opinion declaring the voter registration requirement a free speech violation. She was joined in her ruling by Justices John Paul Stevens, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, and Clarence Thomas.

State election officials say that ruling only applies to ballot measures and nonpartisan races. That interpretation could be tested if Conyers challenges the rejection of his signatures.

So what do you think?

Does John Conyers belong on the primary ballot this August?

Conyers poll

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