DEARBORN — City Clerk George Darany advised that the city incorrectly followed an existing precedent by accepting payments in lieu of petitions for candidates for office.
“On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, it came to my attention that a process error was identified in the 2021 Dearborn City Municipal Election candidate filing process, in which a candidate seeking office for mayor, City Clerk or City Council could pay a $100 fee in lieu of submitting nominating petitions before the April 20, 2021 filing deadline,” a statement from Darany said. “The intent to allow candidates to make a payment in lieu of petitions was well-intentioned, as we sought to do our part during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Darany’s statement also said that by accepting payments in lieu of petitions, the city incorrectly followed an existing precedent established by the 2020 school board election, in which candidates were allowed to make the payments in lieu of petitions.
“MCL 168 authorizes election authorities to collect a filing fee of $100 in lieu of nominating petitions, so long as this provision is authorized within the charter of the local body of government,” Darany’s statement said. “The Dearborn City Charter does not contain this provision at this time.”
Darany also said that he and his staff have taken corrective action.
“All candidates running for elected office in 2021 have been notified by email and by telephone,” his statement said. “Nominating petitions have been prepared for all candidates who have filed their intent with the Dearborn City Clerk and a $100 refund has been issued to all of the candidates who made the payment.”
With this change, to qualify for the August ballot, a candidate must submit nominating petitions with no less than 100 valid signatures and no more than 200 valid signatures from registered voters in the city.
Candidates only have three weeks to meet the signature requirement as the filing deadline is 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 20.