Tom Barrow Raising Money For Mayoral Primary Recount

Former mayoral candidate Tom Barrow smells something fishy about last week's mayoral primary. And who can blame him? After all, the announced result mirrored the public polling data that he had previously dismissed as "made up" because it conflicted with data from his internal polling operation.

So Barrow is asking you, the people, to help him to "objectively examine" the primary results. He needs $4,530 from you to pay for the recount, but rest assured, this isn't some desperate Hail Mary effort by an increasingly marginal figure to remain relevant.

"We have noted a massive number of irregularities and improprieties which are of a deep concern and which confirms our suspicions," Barrow explains in an email to supporters. "The concerns are documented in sworn election challenger affidavits.  In addition, the actual and observed professional conduct of the process fell far short of what you, the public, think is actually going on. Indeed, our challengers were vigorously resisted by Election Commission staff while voluminous illegal and unauthorized challengers were permitted unfettered access."

Barrow does not elaborate on the nature of those irregularities and improprieties, but he his support in his quest for the truth by an "alliance with other concerned candidates and good government groups." Again, what candidates and "good government" groups are allied with Barrow, Barrow does not say.

His website does offer a glimpse into his strategy: "Something is off in the total number of voters in Tuesday, August 6, 2013 Detroit Primary Election. What's off exactly? The number of voters registered to cast ballots in any given election. Just 17% of voters in Detroit participated in August 6, 2013 primary but 108% in total were eligible to participate by voting for Tuesday's primary."

Well, yes, that does seem strange but there is a reasonable explanation.

Detroit Free Press: The high number of registered voters is a reflection of how tough it has been to clean up Detroit’s voter rolls. Removing an inactive or outdated voter registration is a lengthy process in Detroit, because the business of tracking down voters and ensuring they’re still eligible to vote in the city is exacerbated by rapid population decline and a highly transient population.

That means the voter rolls are laden with names that shouldn’t be there.

The true number of active, registered voters in Detroit, says Daniel Baxter, the city’s director of elections, is likely between 460,000 and 475,000.

In other words, as people leave Detroit or die, their names remain on the rolls and stay there for two federal elections (four years) or until the City Clerk has proof they're no longer alive and living in Detroit. That's federal law. Messy voter rolls are actually a national issue, though not as problematic as it might look at first.

Polifact: Problems with inaccurate or invalid records plague voter registration rolls nationwide, according to a report issued last February by the non-partisan Pew Center on the States. No evidence of voter fraud was found -- just record-keeping that is badly managed and in disarray.

Of course, if Tom Barrow does find evidence that these non-Detroiters are voting in Detroit elections, by all means, let us know. That would be interesting.

In the meantime, you have to hand it to Tom Barrow, a candidate from the left of Detroit's narrow political spectrum, for attempting to use this right-wing chain email mythology (on par with Obama is a Kenyan!) for his own ends.

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