DETROIT, May 23 (UPI) —
The Michigan secretary of state ruled Friday that veteran Rep. John Conyers does not have enough valid petition signatures to get on the Democratic primary ballot.
The secretary of state’s office said it reviewed Conyers’ petitions and upheld a finding that his supporters had gathered fewer valid signatures than the 1,000 required. Conyers’ petitions were originally rejected by the Wayne County clerk, who found that hundreds of signatures had been gathered by people who are not registered voters.
Conyers’ lawyers have filed a motion in federal court arguing that the Michigan requirement that only registered voters can circulate petitions is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman was expected to rule later Friday.
Conyers, 85, has represented his Detroit-area district since 1965. He was on track to become the senior member of the House with the impending retirement of his fellow Michigan Democrat, John Dingell.
The secretary of state’s office said Conyers had only 455 valid signatures and that five of the campaign workers circulating them were either not registered voters or had problems with their registrations.
If Leitman rules against him, Conyers could still launch a write-in campaign in the primary or run in the general election as an independent candidate.