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Possible recount in store for Detroit clerk's race

Garlin Gilchrist II may seek a recount in the Detroit city clerk's race.
Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio
Garlin Gilchrist II may seek a recount in the Detroit city clerk's race.

Garlin Gilchrist II, who narrowly lost the Detroit city clerk’s race to incumbent Janice Winfrey Tuesday night, says he may petition for a recount.

Gilchrist was leading the vote tally for most of election night. But Winfrey surged ahead at the very end, squeaking out a win with just over 50% of the vote.

That could be due to Winfrey dominating the absentee ballot returns, which tend to be counted last.

Gilchrist says that “tide shift,” combined with reported irregularities from a few absentee voters, warrants a deeper look.

“That just causes us, and I think causes voters, to really want to understand what’s going on,” Gilchrist said. “And when you see a shift like that, it certainly raises a question.

“And we deserve transparency. The way votes are counted needs to be open and transparent for everyone to see, to remove those questions, to remove that doubt.”

Gilchrist campaigned on charges that Winfrey’s office lacks transparency, and its botched handling of the 2016 election.

Winfrey could not immediately be reached for comment. She's said the problems that plagued the 2016 election, most notably a number of discrepancies between the number of voters counted in poll books and the number of ballots actually cast, have been fixed with new voting equipment and other changes.

Gilchrist says he’ll decide whether to petition for a re-count “in the next few days.” He needs to wait until the Wayne County Board of Canvassers officially certifies the election results.

Per state law, Gilchrist will also need to provide money for the recount upfront.

“One of the things that I know is that transparency in Detroit is worth raising money for,” he said. “We’ll make sure that we have the resources to be able to get that.”

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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