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Flint voters might have to write-in name of the next mayor in November

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The Flint mayor’s race is even murkier today.

It appears the one candidate that did file his petitions before a state deadline may not have enough valid signatures.

Other Flint mayoral candidates missed the filing deadline because the city clerk gave them the wrong date.

Peter Bade is Flint’s city attorney.  He may ask a state or federal court this week to allow candidates who missed the filing deadline to appear on the August primary ballot.

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Flint City Administrator Natasha Henderson and City Attorney Peter Bade (right) brief the media on the steps the city is taking.

“We really believe strongly that voters deserve to have a primary,” says Bade. “They deserve to have the certified candidates that they selected on the ballot.”

The city is working with an outside legal counsel. City Administrator Natasha Henderson defends the expense insisting the city needs to look out for the rights of the thousands of Flint residents who signed the nominating petitions in good faith. 

If the city is unable to convince a federal judge, Flint’s November election for mayor would feature all write-in candidates.

Dr. Karen Weaver remains a candidate for Flint mayor. 

“You always want to be on the ballot,” Weaver says. “We did spend a lot of time, going door to door, getting those signatures.”

But just because she may not appear on the ballot, Weaver says she remains focused on her goal “to become the mayor of city of Flint.”

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Flint City Councilman Eric Mays' petition fell 48 valid signatures short of the 900 needed for a spot on the mayoral ballot

For Councilman Eric Mays his goal is make his way back to the ballot. 

Mays submitted his petition signatures well before the deadline.  He appeared to be the only candidate to beat the deadline.  But he's short of the 900 valid signatures needed.

“Now we see and hear a mere 48 is separating me from the only one being on the ballot,” says Mays.

Mays suggests there may be valid signatures on his petitions that for one reason or another may not have been counted.  He is mulling his options.

Mays does suggest that if the race ends up being about getting write-in votes in November he may want to work with some of the other candidates.

“If I decide to I might look at a candidate, and remain a council person, and help that candidate,” Mays says.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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