Aug 27, 2010

Partisan SOS blocks lawful nomination

EAST LANSING –U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Washington, D.C., was helped to his 111 vote victory in 2000 with the “Rogers law” that kept Michigan State University students from going to the polls in East Lansing, and now he has more help this time around to make sure there is not even a race, leaving him free to stay in Washington and raise even more corporate cash for the party.

A special committee of the 8th District stands ready to appoint Lance Enderle as the Democratic nominee for the 8th Congressional District, but Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is putting up a roadblock.

Lance Enderle, a teacher from Clinton County, appeared before a special committee on Wednesday night and discussed his plans for a campaign to defeat Rogers in November. The committee recommended that Democrats in the 8th Congressional District endorse Enderle at their caucus on Saturday during the Michigan Democratic Party convention at Cobo Hall in Detroit.

Committee members are prepared to appoint him as the nominee, but they learned that Land has refused to accept that the party’s previous nominee, Kande Ngalamulume, has moved out of state, even though she directed Ingham County officials to remove him from the voter rolls.

Ngalamulume has registered to vote in Pennsylvania and submitted to Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer a copy of his Pennsylvania voter registration receipt along with a notarized letter indicating that he has changed his permanent residency to Pennsylvania.

A copy of the letter was hand-delivered to the Bureau of Elections on Monday by the Michigan Democratic Party. State party Chair Mark Brewer informed the Bureau of Elections that the nomination was vacant and the Michigan Democratic Party would move promptly to fill the vacancy.

You will recall when this issue surfaced back in June that under election Michigan law, when a candidate for Congress moves out of state after the primary, the party may pick a replacement candidate to appear on the November ballot. The law provides that a committee made up of the chairs, secretaries and treasurers of each of the counties in the congressional district make the selection at a meeting convened by the secretary of the party’s state central committee. Nowhere does the law say that the party must wait for the secretary of state to declare a vacancy or remove a candidate’s name.

Committee members said since Ngalamulume was allowed to register to vote in Pennsylvania it is clear that he has moved out of Michigan and that Land is merely fabricating her own hurdles to try to keep a viable Democratic candidate off the ballot.

Land is term-limited, and Democrats this weekend plan to officially nominate Jocelyn Benson, a Wayne State University professor of election law, as their candidate to replace her. Unlike the highly partisan Land, Benson has pledged to take an “Oath of Nonpartisanship” promising to be neutral and non-partisan in administering election laws.

The section of Michigan law in question says that once the party selects a replacement candidate, the candidate’s name “shall” be printed on the general election ballot and does not give Land authority to try to block the party’s action. The law states: “The name of the candidate so selected shall be certified immediately by the secretary of the state central committee to the secretary of state and to the board of election commissioners for each county, whose duty it is to prepare the official ballots; and said board shall cause to be printed or placed upon such ballots, in the proper place, the name of the candidate so selected and certified to fill such vacancy.”

Enderle is a progressive Democrat, and he says he believes in small business, agriculture, tax equality and individual Freedom. He said he believes money has nearly destroyed the political process, and he has pledged he will not take any PAC or any special interest money against Rogers’ chests full of corporate and PAC cash.

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