Conyers, one of America's most prominent black politicians and the
second-ranking U.S. representative in seniority, had been
disqualified from the primary based on registration rules that left
him far short of the required valid signatures.
But U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman found on May 23 that a
Michigan law requiring petition circulators to be registered state
voters may violate Conyers' constitutional rights and ordered that
he be allowed to appear on the ballot.
Fred Woodhams, spokesman for the Michigan secretary of state, said
in a statement that based on the facts of Leitman's order, the state
had decided not to appeal the order allowing Conyers onto the
Woodhams said he could not comment further because the case was
ongoing. Representatives for Conyers and his primary opponent, the
Reverend Horace Sheffield, could not be immediately reached for
Conyers submitted more than double the 1,000 signatures required to
appear on the primary ballot, but Sheffield challenged the validity
of his paperwork.
Election officials threw out hundreds of signatures gathered by
people who were not registered voters in Michigan and disqualified
Conyers from appearing on the primary ballot. Conyers then
challenged the law in federal court.
Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson had argued that the law
helps combat election fraud.
[to top of second column]
Conyers, 85, was first elected to Congress in 1964 and is a former
chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He ranks second in
seniority behind fellow Michigan Representative John Dingell, who is
retiring this year.
He represents a solidly Democratic district where President Barack
Obama won 85 percent of the vote in the 2012 election.
(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.