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Report: Deval Patrick lacks signatures to make Michigan ballot

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick's campaign for president failed to collect enough valid signatures to make Michigan's March 10 primary ballot, according to a report this week from state election officials.

The Michigan Department of State report said Patrick, a Democrat, missed the required number of petition signatures by at least 2,685 signatures. The report also flagged 474 signatures for being of "dubious authenticity."

"... (T)he signature appeared to be written in handwriting that was substantially the same as handwriting for multiple petition entries appearing on the same petition sheet," a footnote in the state's report said of the "dubious" signatures.

Democratic presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers will meet at 10:30 a.m. Friday in Lansing to consider whether Patrick should make the ballot

Aleigha Cavalier, communications director for Patrick's campaign, said Michigan residents "deserve to be able to choose from their full range of choices for president."

"We’re weighing our options to ensure that Deval Patrick is on the ballot in Michigan," she added.

Patrick launched his presidential campaign on Nov. 14 after initial ballot lists were prepared by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Because of his late decision to join the race, Patrick had to collect 11,345 valid petition signatures.

His campaign submitted 13,777 signatures on Dec. 13, but after state officials examined the signatures, they reported finding only 8,660 that were potentially valid. Other signatures had incomplete addresses, featured date errors or were of "dubious authenticity."

In one instance, a single petition sheet featured five duplicate signatures, "where one individual signed three times using the exact same name, address and date of signing for each entry, and another individual signed under the identical name and address two times," according to the Michigan Department of State's report.

The Patrick campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Four Republican candidates and 18 Democratic candidates made Benson's initial ballot lists for the March 10 primary. Those candidates didn't have to submit petition signatures.

cmauger@detroitnews.com