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Eight congressional candidates booted from Michigan primary ballot

Mary Ellen Gurewitz sitting at a brown table. She is wearing black
Board of State Canvassers Chair Mary Ellen Gurewitz, a Democrat, said she thinks canvassers may need to start personally reviewing nominating petitions that are believed to have fraudulent signatures. (Bridge photo by Jordyn Hermani)
  • Eight Michigan congressional candidates barred from the primary ballot by the bipartisan Board of State Canvassers 
  • Officials cited invalid signatures, improper typeface and other issues on nominating petitions required to make the ballot
  • Disqualified candidates include U.S. Senate hopeful Nasser Beydoun and U.S. House candidate Nikki Snyder

LANSING — The Michigan Board of State Canvassers on Friday disqualified several congressional candidates from the primary ballot, citing formatting errors on nominating petitions and — in some instances — signature fraud. 

In a series of unanimous votes, the bipartisan board booted candidates like Nasser Beydoun, a Democrat running to fill Michigan’s open U.S. Senate seat, and State Board of Education member Nikki Snyder, a Republican who was running for the U.S. House in Michigan’s 8th Congressional District.


They were among the eight congressional hopefuls removed from the Aug. 6 primary ballot after canvassers agreed with findings from state Bureau of Elections staff, who uncovered nominating petition issues ranging from improper typefaces to more significant issues like evident signature fraud.

Board Chair Mary Ellen Gurewitz, a Democrat, told reporters following the meeting she believed canvassers may need to start personally and closely examining “any instance of fraud, or suspected fraud, that isn’t covered by people who are examining the petitions.”


The disqualifications mark the second major election cycle in a row in which Michigan canvassers denied ballot access to multiple candidates in high-profile races. In 2022, evidence of a “massive forgery scheme” led canvassers to boot five Republican gubernatorial candidates. 

Other candidates disqualified Friday: 

“This system is messed up,” Foster told the board, arguing it is unfair that his incumbent opponent — U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit — could afford to pay petition circulators while less affluent candidates could not.

Staff at the Michigan Bureau of Elections recommended disqualifying Beydoun because his nominating petitions listed a post office box rather than a street address required under state law. 

Candidates for the U.S. House need 1,000 valid voter signatures to make the ballot, while candidates for the U.S. Senate need 15,000. But the bureau said none of Beydoun’s signatures were valid because of the petition error.

In Friday comments to canvassers, Beydoun argued that he wasn’t trying to be intentionally deceptive with his address, but said that “with today’s political environment … you want everybody in the state to know where you live?” 

“I did nothing wrong in my petitions and my filings. I did everything I thought was right underneath the law,” he said, adding that listing a P.O. Box rather than a home address “doesn’t affect the outcome of the signatures.” 

But Beydoun did list his home address in filings with the Federal Election Commission, countered Richard Houskamp, one of two Republican canvassers on the four-member board, which agreed that Beydoun did not have enough valid signatures to make the ballot. 

“We are bound not only by the words of the statute, but by judicial interpretation,” said Gurewitz, who said she was sympathetic to Beydoun’s arguments, but “it is what it is.”

Snyder, the 8th district congressional candidate, had initially filed to run for U.S. Senate but in March changed her focus to the U.S. House. The Bureau of Elections determined 980 of the 1,079 signatures she filed were valid, dropping her below the threshold required to make the ballot.

Among those surviving signature challenges were Curtis Hertel, the lone Democrat running against Republican Tom Barrett in Michigan’s 7th Congressional District, and U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, the Democratic frontrunner for the U.S. Senate race Beydoun was disqualified from.


Canvassers also rejected a bureau recommendation to disqualify Republican candidate Josh Saul in Michigan's 1st Congressional District because he had listed "House" instead of "U.S. House" on his nominating petitions. 

Not considered during Friday’s meeting were nominating petitions submitted by Adam Hollier, a Detroit Democrat and director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. 

The Michigan Bureau of Elections on Thursday rejected an appeal by Hollier, who last week was disqualified from the 13th Congressional District race by the Wayne County clerk because of faulty signatures. He had planned to challenge U.S. Rep. Shri Thanedar in the Democratic primary. 

Friday’s meeting brings Michigan one step closer to completing its 2024 primary election ballot, which must be finalized by June 7, according to officials with the Secretary of State.

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