Congressman Thanedar files complaint to disqualify fellow Democrat from Michigan primary

Congressman Shri Thanedar visits Detroit Enterprise School in Michigan on April 8, 2024. PHOTO:

Congressman Shri Thanedar, D-MI, is calling for disqualifying his opponent from the Democratic Party primary on grounds that a majority of the signatures on his application for the party’s support are allegedly not legitimate.

Thanedar, who is the House ranking member on the Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security in the Committee on Homeland Security, is urging the Wayne County Clerk in Detroit, Michigan to remove Adam Hollier, a former state senator, from the August 6, 2024, primary ballot. Thanedar claims that out of the 1,555 signatures submitted by the Hollier campaign, only 761 are legitimate.

Hollier is vying to unseat incumbent Thanedar, who is a first-term lawmaker, elected in 2022, to serve Michigan’s 13th District. Hollier previously ran for Congress and secured the second position in the primary, trailing behind Thanedar.

Thanedar told News India Times that Detroit “needs competent representation” noting “When I saw a candidate submit less than the required signatures due to the signers being out of district (228), not registered (338), duplicated (90), and fraudulent (82), I decided to challenge to ensure that the integrity of our election process is maintained.”

Representing the 13th District “is a big responsibility” he said adding it suffered “disproportionately during the COVID epidemic.” About 26 per cent of people in the District, live in poverty lacking economic opportunities and quality education.

According to a report in Midwesterner, Thanedar has urged the Wayne County Board of Canvassers to invalidate signatures gathered by Petition circulator Londell Thomas of Harper Woods, who collected 791 signatures including those of Michigan Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, and Chair of the state Board of Canvassers, Mary Ellen Gurewitz. These signatures are suspected to be fraudulent, he contends. Benson is among the several elected officials to have endorsed Hollier.

On April 29, 2024, in a sworn-in complaint before the State Board of Canvassers, State of Michigan, Thanedar challenged the certification of Hollier to the ballot for the primary.

The complaint noted, “The Candidate [Hollier] has failed to provide the requisite number of valid signatures, the Complainant [Thanedar] hereby requests that the State Board of Canvassers officially determine that the Candidate, pursuant to MCL68.133, 168.544f and 168.552, has not filed nominating petitions that has been signed by the requisite number of qualified and registered electors and deny the Candidate certification to the ballot for the Primary election.”

In an affidavit, Mark Grebner of Practical Political Consulting, Michigan’s leading voter data expert, who examined the signatures submitted by Hollier’s campaign, stated that throughout his career he has reviewed over hundred sets of petitions, which include initiative, referendum, and nomination petitions to identify any invalid or fraudulent signatures within these petitions.

“I have carefully examined copies of the petitions filed during April 2024 by the Hollier Campaign. As a result of that examination, I have determined that only 761 of the approximately 1,555 signatures submitted by the Hollier campaign are valid,” Grebner noted in his affidavit filed in support of Thanedar. “The defects in these signatures fall into the following general categories: duplicate signers; fraudulent entries; unregistered voters; signers residing outside of the 13th Congressional District; wrong address; and forgery.”

The Detroit News reported that Hollier’s lawyers W. Alan Wilk and Melvin Hollowell on April 7th in a brief to Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett argued that Thanedar’s petition challenge is “legally flawed” since it was directed to the incorrect entity and filed under the wrong section of Michigan’s election law.

However, the lawyers clarified that some signatures found on nine pages of supplemental petitions were probably falsified by (Londell) Thomas. Hollier’s campaign is currently taking steps to report the alleged signature fraud to the prosecutor of the Wayne County.
But, the campaign has urged officials not to dispose of any signatures or petitions that Thomas had validated.

“Our forthright agreement that Londell Thomas likely forged supplemental petitions S-2 through S-10 does not mean that other aspects of Candidate Thanedar’s complaint are valid,” Hollier’s lawyers wrote. “Whatever conduct Mr. Thomas may have engaged in outside the bounds of his authority, it is also that he appears to have gathered valid petition signatures. These signers are actual Americans expressing their constitutional rights which should not be taken from them as Mr. Thanedar requests.”

Wayne County Clerk Garrett will initiate an investigation and release a report to determine if Hollier’s “petitions meet the requirements set out under state law.”

Thanedar’s main challengers in the August Democratic primary include Hollier, and Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Waters. A report in the Bridge Michigan noted that before the April 23 deadline for the August 6 primary, five Democrats including Thanedar, Hollier, Mary Waters, Shakira Lynn Hawkins, Mohammad Rabbi Alam along with a Republican Martell Bivings, submitted the necessary petition signatures. In the 2022 general election, Bivings, who previously worked as a business liaison with the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, contested against Thanedar and lost by a margin of almost 50 percentage points.

Congressman Shri Thanedar’s Complaint. Courtesy Rep. Thanedar

Shri Thanedar’s complaint



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