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Detroit elections officials preparing for a long, complicated primary night

Detroit elections officials are preparing for a long night after next week’s primary-- likely to be one of the more interesting primaries in Detroit history.

One of the front-running mayoral candidates, Mike Duggan, is only running as a write-in.

He faces another write-in candidate , Mike Dugeon, whose name is pronounced the same—and spelled virtually the same way.

Detroit elections officials say they’re prepared to deal with that—by recording every iteration of every write-in candidate, exactly as written.

City Clerk Janice Winfrey says poll workers can help voters with the write-in process for a non-specific candidate, but that’s as much as they can do.

“We have been emphasizing the write-in procedures, to ensure that our poll workers know that they simply record what they see as it is written,” Winfrey says.

Elections director Daniel Baxter says they hope to have unofficial results very early the following morning.

“We’re very hopeful that we’ll be done with the entire operation of producing unofficials by 1 o’clock on election night,” says Baxter

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers makes the final call on disputed votes. The Board has 14 days after the primary to certify the election.

The election is also historic because it’s the first time Detroiters will choose most City Council candidates by district.

Winfrey expects voter turnout to be just a shade lower than it was for the 2009 primary, around 15%.

All Detroit’s top elected officials will have extremely limited powers for nearly a year of their new terms. The city’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, has broad powers to make government decisions.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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