Why are there so many write-in candidates?

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Circumstances caused by the pandemic created unique challenges that resulted in some candidates having their petitions rejected. As a result, the August 2021 local primary election has 31 write-in candidates whose petitions to be on the ballot were rejected. Kinda Anderson, candidate for Detroit City Clerk, has been living in Detroit since 2019, was rejected because her paperwork did not list her Detroit home as her official residence.  During the pandemic, she was not able to get a Secretary of State appointment to record her address change.  David Sanchez, candidate for Police Commissioner in District 6, had his petition rejected by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny. This contentious ruling came as a surprise to most because the judge also presided over the Proposal P ruling.  

These candidates are running for the offices of Mayor, City Council, City Clerk, and Board of Police Commissioners. They were required to get their petitions signed despite the hardships imposed by the COVID19 pandemic and an official quarantine.  Five hundred approved signatures were required on petitions to seek the offices of Mayor, City Clerk, and City Council at Large. Candidates seeking offices by district on the City Council and Board of Police Commissioners needed a minimum of 300 signatures. All petitions were due April 20, 2021, even though Michigan was still under Covid-19 restrictions.

Petitions can be rejected if there are signatures of unregistered voters or citizens living outside the jurisdiction.  Also, the address given by a signer on a petition must match that person’s voter registration address. Further, it is required that all signatures be collected in person, face to face. 

Many Detroiters and candidates feel that the rejection of multiple petitions, forcing so many to be write-in candidates, is a direct act of voter suppression. Below is a list of candidates, both those who were accepted and those rejected from the ballot.  The list also notes officials in office that are not seeking re-election.

Mayor of Detroit

Michael Duggan (incumbent)

Anthony Adams

Tom Barrow

Kiawana Brown

Myya Jones

Jasahn Larsosa

Charleta McInnis

Danetta Simpson

Arthur Tyus 

Not on Ballot

Articia Bomer

Curis Greene

Emanuel Shaw

Cheryl Webb

Detroit City Clerk

Janice Winfrey (incumbent)

Beverly Kindle-Walker

Denzell Jines-McCambell

Micheal Ri’chard

Not on Ballot

Kinda Anderson

Jeffery Robinson

Detroit City Council Council at Large 

(Brenda Jones is not seeking re-election)

Janee Ayers (incumbent)

Jermain Jones 

Nicole Small 

Mary Waters 

Coleman Young II 

Not on Ballot:

Royce Kinniebrew 

Steven Lett 

District 1

James Tate (incumbent)

Darryl Brown 

Quincy Coleman 

Krystal Larsosa

District 2

Roy McCalister Jr. (incumbent)

Angela Calloway

Not on Ballot

Levan Adams 

Michael Evans 

Jaylin Harris 

Andrew Tyus 

District 3

Scott Benson (incumbent)

Not on Ballot

Levan Adams

Dennis Green

Jaylin Harris 

Adam Mundy 

Vanessa Olive 

Steven Shelton

Andrew Tyus 

District 4 

(Councilmember Andre Spivey is not seeking re-election)

Anemashaun Bomani

Michael Elrick 

Toson Jewell-Knight 

Latisha Johnson 

Daivon Reeder 

Virgil Smith 

Kenneth Snapp 

Not on Ballot

Corey Gilchrist 

District 5

Mary Sheffield (incumbent running unopposed)

District 6 

(Raquel Castaneda-Lopez is not seeking re-election)

Hector Santiago

Gabriela Santiago-Romero

Not on Ballot

Myamika Jordan 

David Sanchez 

District 7 

(Current council member Gabe Leland unable to seek re-election upon felony conviction)

John Bennett 

William Davis 

Fred Durhal III 

Regina Ross 

JoAnna Underwood 

Angy Webb 

Not on Ballot

Robert Dunlap 

Terrell George 

DeQuincy Hyatt 

Ericka Murria 

Board of Police Commissioners

District 1 

(Darryl Brown is not seeking re-election)

Primary canceled because no candidates on the ballot

Not on Ballot

Joshua Engle 

Bryan Ferguson 

Tamara Smith 

District 2

Linda D. Bernard (incumbent)

Lavish Williams

District 3 

(Shirley Burch is not seeking re-election)

Cedric Banks

Not on Ballot

Damian Mitchell 

District 4

Willie Bell (incumbent)

Scott Boman

 District 5

Willie Burton (incumbent)

Not on Ballot

Michael Farr 

District 6

Lisa Carter (incumbent)

Landis Spencer

District 7 

(William Davis is not seeking re-election)

Primary canceled because no candidates on ballot

Not on Ballot 

Robert Olive