Monday, January 4, 2010

BARROW SEEKS INVESTIGATION INTO HANDLING OF ELECTION

Posted on Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 8:37 PM

Tom Barrow, who lost to Dave Bing in the Nov. 3 Detroit mayoral election, has sent letters to a variety of public officials — ranging from Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice — seeking a criminal investigation into the way the contest was handled.

In his letter, Barrow alleges that there is probable cause to believe that “vote tampering, ballot box stuffing and electronic vote manipulation” occurred.

Told of Barrow’s complaint, Bing’s office said the mayor is focusing on the future, not on an election his administration deems to have been sufficiently scrutinized already.

“At a time when this administration is focused on moving forward, it is unfortunate that Mr. Barrow continues to challenge a vote that has been counted, recounted and certified twice,” Karen Dumas, Bing’s director of communications, wrote in an e-mail Monday. “This is not the time for pursuing political points for personal reinforcement. It's a New Year, and time to move on.”

Because Monday is a furlough day for city workers, no one from the office of Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey or the city’s Department of Elections was available.

In a phone interview, Barrow said that the issue “is bigger than me. This is about the integrity of the election process.”

The complaint, among other things, raises questions about absentee ballot boxes that had numbered security seals that didn’t match numbers recorded in poll books; Barrow alleges that the discrepancy indicates the boxes were tampered with.

Late last month the Wayne County Board of Canvassers ruled that, because of the problems identified by Barrow, no absentee ballots could be included in a recount. Bing, however, still won by a decisive margin.

How much credence should be paid to the allegations Barrow is now making?

That’s a question we’re still trying to answer. Look for a more in-depth story in Metro Times come Wednesday.

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