Wayne County, Michigan officials reported this weekend that long-time Detroit Democrat Representative John Conyers didn’t submit enough signatures to qualify for the ballot this year.
Authorities say Conyers was 400 signatures short of having enough to qualify to run for re-election. Many of the signatures were thrown out because some of his signature-gatherers were not registered to vote in Michigan as required by law.
This violation of the state’s election law was brought to light by Conyers’ Democrat opponent, Horace Sheffield, who filed a complaint with the state after he learned that some of Conyers’ petition gatherers were not legal voters in accordance with the law.
The Congressman’s legal team is appealing the election board decision, but it isn’t likely he will be able to suddenly find over 400 new signatures to meet requirements.
This isn’t the first time a sitting Congressman missed his ballot signature requirement in the Wolverine State. In April of 2011, Republican Representative Thaddeus McCotter also ended up missing the signature limit on his nomination petitions, causing him to lose his place on the ballot.
McCotter had an additional problem that year, too. When it was discovered internally that he didn’t have enough signatures to stay on the ballot, his staff tried to manufacture the needed number. But the Michigan Secretary of State caught the attempt and ruled that the 9-year incumbent did not qualify for the ballot.
A year after he left office, McCotter filed a lawsuit against his former aides, claiming that they purposefully tried to engineer the loss of his seat. He always insisted he never knew that his staff manufactured fraudulent petitions.