• Charlie LeDuff: The vote is in – incompetence wins by a landslide!

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    originalDETROIT – When the government cannot guarantee something as elemental as a person’s vote, that government becomes illegitimate.

    That’s where we’re at in Detroit after the spectacle perpetrated by the office of the City Clerk Janice Winfrey and by extension the Board of Elections. A banana republic.

    Missing hash marks, tardy absentee ballots, candidates left off the ballots. 108 percent of the adult population registered to vote and the mysterious retirement of the director of the board of elections.

    The aftermath of the Detroit primary this month devolved into such a sitcom that the write-in ballots had to be sent to Lansing for a proper counting, and now a judge up there is thinking of kicking the whole thing to the feds. Sheesh.

    I like to deal in facts. So along with veteran pollster and politico Steve Hood, I obtained the city’s 2013 registered voters list, the state of Michigan’s 2013 registered voter list and the city’s absentee voter file from the 2013 mayoral primary. We ran the lists through a computer program and cross referenced the names, address and dates of birth. Then I got in my car and knocked on some random doors.

    Now I am no election expert. I don’t have the time to do a thorough job — I will leave that to the professionals. But if what we found on the face of things is any indication, then somebody needs to take a fire hose to Winfrey’s office and clean it out.

    To begin: the state voter id numbers are consistent. A voter, his registration and voting history can be tracked. On the other hand, the city’s voter id numbers often don’t match the state’s — as they should – and voting spreadsheets cannot link to each other.

    According to an analysis of city and state records, there were more than 45 people over the age of 100 years who may have voted in the primary by absentee ballot.

    How much longer do you expect a Detroiter to keep the faith? Already, the city is ruled not by an elected official but a state-appointed financial autocrat.

    Read more from Charlie’s findings and read some personal experiences on My Fox Detroit

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