Detroit city clerk candidate Denzel McCampbell
Denzel McCampbell, a voting rights advocate, Detroit charter revision commissioner, and communications director for U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, is running for city clerk with a pledge to improve elections and combat Republican efforts to make it harder to cast a ballot.
McCampbell will face four challengers, including four-term Detroit clerk Janice Winfrey, who narrowly defeated Garlin Gilchrist II, now lieutenant governor, in the November 2017 general election.
The other candidates are Kinda Anderson, Beverly Kindle-Walker, Michael Ri'chard, and Jeffrey Robinson.
“As a voting rights and election protection advocate for the last decade, I’ve seen firsthand how our Detroit city government has failed to involve Detroiters at the ballot box and beyond,” McCampbell said in a video
announcing his candidacy. “Our communities and our city are stronger when every Detroiter is at the table and when every Detroiter is a part of the decision-making process.”
Over the past decade, Winfrey has come under fire for mismanaging elections. During the presidential election in 2016, when Donald Trump won Michigan by just 0.2%, scores of voting machines malfunctioned, poll workers weren’t properly trained, and thousands of presidential ballots couldn’t be recounted because tabulations didn’t match the poll books. For more than a month before the 2020 election, Winfrey’s election website was directing voters to the wrong absentee ballot application.
In the primary and general elections in 2020, voting totals for many precincts once again didn’t match precinct poll book numbers, which means they can’t be recounted.
The problems prompted Wayne County canvassers to call for state intervention in 2020.
The clerk’s race comes as Republicans in Lansing are pushing a 39-bill package
that would restrict voting. The legislation would require a photo ID to vote in person, prohibit clerks from providing prepaid postage on absentee ballot return envelopes, and restrict the hours to drop ballots in curbside boxes. The Secretary of State would be prevented from mailing unsolicited absentee ballot applications, as done in 2020, and voters would have to attach a copy of their photo ID to apply for an absentee ballot.
“As our voting rights continue to be under attack by those who don’t want our voice to be heard, we need a Detroit city clerk who will be a strong advocate for the people and an effective leader,” McCampbell said.
McCampbell, a Michigan State University graduate and lifelong Detroiter who grew up in the city’s northeast side in Krainz Woods, said he also wants to increase civic education and improve transparency within city government.
“During my tenure as Charter Revision Commissioner, I’ve worked hand-in-hand with community members to deliver a progressive, forward-thinking revised charter. I’ve helped to spearhead efforts around water affordability, reimagining public safety, and beefing up the city’s health department. This could not have been possible without working with all of our neighbors, and I plan to do the same as we transform the city’s clerk office and civic engagement in the city,” McCampbell said in a statement.
More information about McCampbell’s campaign is available at his website
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