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Wayne County Board of Canvassers to consider Detroit election results; recount still possible

Detroit brought in new voting equipment for 2017 elections after rampant problems with 2016 vote.
Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio
Detroit brought in new voting equipment for 2017 elections after rampant problems with 2016 vote.

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers will meet on Tuesday to review Detroit’s election tallies.

The board must certify the results that day to meet a state deadline.

Detroit elections officials say they’re confident the November 7 election results will be made official, despite some reported irregularities with absentee ballots, and lingering doubts over the city clerk's botched handling of the 2016 general election.

Elections director Daniel Baxter believes the county will certify results “from all of our precincts” Tuesday. He says city clerk Janice Winfrey has addressed the problems that plagued the 2016 election, upgrading voting equipment and training over the past year.

“Poll workers were vigorously trained to make sure that they could administer procedures at each of their particular precincts,” Baxter said.

While Michigan’s aborted 2016 presidential recount found a number of problems with results from a wide swath of Detroit precincts, a state audit found they were largely the result of human error, and no evidence of fraud.

Winfrey just narrowly won re-election as clerk, defeating challenger Garlin Gilchrist II by about 1,400 votes. Gilchrist got more votes on election day, but Winfrey squeaked out a win on the backs of absentee voters, taking about 63% of those votes and 95 out of 100 absentee voter precincts.

Gilchrist has raised the possibility of requesting a recount, citing both the closeness of the vote and some anecdotal reports of irregularities from absentee voters. A separate lawsuit that accused Winfrey of inappropriately handling absentee ballots was dismissed last week.

If Gilchrist does petition for a recount, he has to do so within a week of the Board of Canvassers certifying the results, and fund the process himself upfront. 

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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