Clerk removes new Wayne Co. Commissioner from primary ballot
Newly appointed Wayne County Commissioner Reggie Reg Davis has been tossed off the August primary ballot after an opponent challenged his eligibility.
Wayne County Clerk Cathy M. Garrett said she was upholding a challenge from Monique Baker McCormick, who said Davis failed to provide his full former name on his affidavit of identity in his bid to run for Wayne County Commission District 6. McCormick also is running for the seat in the August primary.
Garrett deemed the affidavit incomplete and said she could not certify Davis as a candidate for the seat, she said in a letter dated May 15.
Davis legally changed his name from Reginald Gary Davis Jr. in March 2009, according to his attorney, Melvin Butch Hollowell.
Hollowell said he appealed the clerk's decision with the Board of State Canvassers. He called McCormick's challenge "voter suppression," saying it prevents voters from choosing their preferred candidate.
Davis, he said, met every requirement for candidacy under state and county laws, including being at least 18 years of age, a qualified elector in the district, meeting the April 24 filing deadline and paying the $100 filing fee.
Hollowell also said he doesn't believe Garrett has the authority to remove a candidate from the ballot based on anything outside those legal requirements.
"We think all the boxes were properly filled out and we expect this decision to be oveturned promptly," Hollowell said.
McCormick also challenged Davis' residency, alleging that the commissioner listed a home address on his affidavit that also is a business. Garrett rejected that challenge.
Davis was appointed to the commission on Jan. 11, filling the seat of Commissioner Burton Leland who died in February. He formerly served as a deputy district manager in District 1 for Detroit's Department of Neighborhoods.
McCormick is attempting for a sixth time to run for the District 6 commission seat. She challenged Leland in the past five elections.
McCormick said Davis should have included his former name on his affidavit.
"If you change your name, sometimes there are discrepancies as to who that person really is or who he was," said McCormick, who is a real estate broker and U.S. Army veteran. "I think that it's more important because you could be an ex-con or someone that committed crimes and no one would ever know if you didn’t list your former name. That’s why the law was created, so we know who we are voting for."
Hollowell said he expects the Board of State Canvassers to make a decision on his appeal at its meeting Thursday.