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Appeals court: Error keeps lawmaker off ballot

The Detroit News

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that a state lawmaker shouldn’t be on the ballot in the Plymouth Township supervisor race since he didn’t provide a precinct number when filing to run.

Republican State Rep. Kurt Heise had sought to challenge supervisor Shannon Price in the Aug. 2 primary.

But in May, a complaint filed in Wayne County Circuit Court on behalf of a township voter, Carl Berry, alleged Heise failed to provide a precinct number in an affidavit of identity as required by law, according to the appeals ruling.

Heise, who has chaired the House Criminal Justice Committee, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday night.

Neither the Wayne County Election Commission nor the Wayne Circuit Court agreed the omission should cost him a spot on the ballot, Gongwer News Service reported.

But judges Kurtis T. Wilder, Kirsten Frank Kelly and Karen M. Fort Hood wrote in the appeal filed Friday that the law spells out what is required.

The law “demonstrates that, because the Wayne County defendants failed to perform their clear legal duty, they now have a clear legal duty to ‘correct’ such errors as may be found in the resulting, improper ballots.”

Rob Huth, the attorney who represented Berry in the case, welcomed the ruling.

“I think now that the court has clarified the rules, clerks going forward will know that all the information has to be on that affidavit of identity, otherwise a candidate is not qualified to be on the ballot,” he said.

Before becoming a state representative, Heise ran the county environment department, served as the mayor’s deputy in Dearborn Heights, and was assistant corporation counsel for Dearborn Heights, Woodhaven, Garden City and Redford Township, according to the website for his campaign.