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Congressman from Mich. seeks to get back on ballot

John Conyers is aiming to run for a 26th term.

John Conyers is aiming to run for a 26th term.

DETROIT — Longtime US Representative John Conyers on Friday appealed a decision that he lacked enough valid signatures to get on the August primary election ballot, part of a larger legal campaign to restore his name and run for a 26th term.

Conyers’s filing with the Michigan secretary of state’s office seeks to reverse this week’s decision by Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett to keep the Democrat off the ballot because some petition collectors hadn’t complied with state voter registration requirements.

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Spokesmen said the secretary will review the appeal and decide by June 6.

The filing comes a day after Conyers, who was first elected to the House in 1964, joined a federal lawsuit taking aim at the requirement that petition collectors be registered voters.

The suit was filed against Garrett and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson by the American Civil Liberties Union’s state chapter on behalf of two petition circulators and others.

Garrett’s review found Conyers was more than 400 signatures short of 1,000 needed.

Conyers argues in his appeal that the clerk’s decision ‘‘is factually and legally unsound.’’ Several of the circulators of nominating petitions had their voter registration confirmed, the appeal says.

The lawsuit and ACLU officials say the US Supreme Court and the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit have struck down such requirements because they violate the rights of free speech and political association. The ACLU also asked the court to order Garrett and Johnson to stop enforcing the law, which the group believes is unconstitutional. A hearing is planned for Wednesday.

Michigan lawmakers last month amended the law to the eliminate voter registration requirement in some cases, but it does not apply to the election involving Conyers.

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