Conyers still not on Michigan ballot

Anne Wernikoff

The Michigan secretary of State agreed Friday that Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) remains ineligible to be placed on the August Democratic primary ballot. 

A separate court decision expected to be handed down Friday appears to be one of the last chances to reverse the decision and get the 50-year incumbent back on the ballot. 

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The State Secretary Ruth Johnson denied an appeal from the Conyers campaign, after a country clerk earlier this month said he did not have enough valid petition signatures to appear on the ballot, according to The Detroit News

Of the 1,000 petition signatures needed to appear on the ballot, Johnson said Conyers only had 455 valid ones.

Due to a Michigan state law that requires those gathering petition signatures to be registered in the state, more than 600 were tossed out because the people who helped collect them were not registered to vote in Michigan.

The campaign is now relying on the results of the lawsuit. Conyers joined an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit filed earlier this month that challenges as unconstitutional the state law that prevents people who are not registered to vote in Michigan to collect petition signatures for a candidate.

The lawsuit argues the law violates the First Amendment and is asking for the county clerk to count the signatures that were deemed invalid. 

The ACLU notes the Michigan legislature amended its election law regarding referendum petition signatures earlier this year, after the group filed a similar lawsuit against laws governing people who collect petition signatures. 

Conyers is facing off against primary opponent Rev. Horace Sheffield III, who first challenged the petition signatures.

This post was updated at 4:40 p.m. 

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