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Special election date to fill Conyers' seat will not change

Michigan's 13th congressional district

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit that challenged Governor Snyder’s plans to hold a special election to fill ex-Congressman John Conyers’ vacant seat.

The special election to fill the seat left open by Conyers will take place as planned by Governor Rick Snyder, meaning the 13th District will be without a congressional representative for 11 months.

Soon after Conyers stepped down in December, Snyder announced plans to hold special elections to replace him on the same days as regularly-scheduled primary and general elections in 2018.

Some residents of Conyers’ 13th Congressional District sued, claiming that violated their rights by leaving them without representation for 11 months.

They also claimed the long vacancy meant Snyder was discriminating against residents of the majority African-American district based on race.

But U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith ruled Wednesday that there's no evidence of any violation of citizens' rights. Goldsmith ruled Snyder was within his rights to set the special election dates when he did, citing cost concerns, and the length of time it takes for candidates to file for office, and for local officials to organize elections.

He also found no evidence that Snyder's decision was racially motivated or intended to violate anyone's constitutional rights.

The primary election to fill the seat will be held August 2, and the special election will be held November 6. The winner of the election will finish the final two months of Conyers' term.

Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
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