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State officials say Abdul El-Sayed is eligible to run for Michigan governor

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Bridge Magazine

State officials say a top Democratic candidate for governor is eligible to run.

Abdul El-Sayed was registered to vote in New York state from 2012 until 2015. Michigan’s Constitution requires candidates for governor to be a registered voter in Michigan for at least four years prior to taking office.

But despite that, the state Bureau of Elections says El-Sayed, the former Detroit health department director, is still eligible to run for governor.

Director of Elections Sally Williams says the official state Qualified Voter File (QVF) record for Dr. El-Sayed shows he has been continuously registered to vote in Michigan since 2003. 

“Dr. El-Sayed’s voter registration record could not have been canceled unless the state received specific written confirmation that he had changed his residence for voting purposes or until two consecutive federal general elections passed without him voting in Michigan,” Williams writes. “Neither of those necessary events occurred.”  

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Credit lester graham / Michigan Radio
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Michigan Radio
Shri Thanedar

El-Sayed’s campaign welcomed the decision.

“As we expected, the Secretary of State has rejected this baseless, political attack in an unprecedented confirmation of Abdul’s eligibility to serve as governor of this state,” says El-Sayed campaign spokesman Adam Joseph.

Fellow Democrat Shri Thanedar is the one who challenged El-Sayed’s candidacy.  

After the decision was made public Wednesday, the Thanedar campaign issued a statement:

“We are thankful the Secretary of State's office reviewed this matter and look forward to an open and vigorous debate on how we can move our state forward and help working families rise up."

Meanwhile, El-Sayed is challenging Thanedar’s petition signatures. The final decision on that is up to the Board of State Canvassers.  

El-Sayed, Thanedar and former state senator Gretchen Whitmer are expected to face off in the Democrats' August primary.  

Recent polls have shown Thanedar and Whitmer neck-and-neck, with El-Sayed trailing in third place. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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