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Zulu_warrior
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Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - 12:54 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

BREAKING NEWS: Detroit Election Commission urged to drop 'Ambassador' program

Detroit News Staff /

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A pair of court-appointed monitors on Monday urged the Detroit Election Commission to terminate a system that used election assistants to distribute and collect absentee ballots.

In a report to Wayne County Circuit Court, monitors Elliott Hall and Charlie J. Williams, said the so-called election "ambassadors" created by ousted City Clerk Jackie Currie in 1997 called into question the integrity of Detroit's absentee ballot voting.

The report said that, "given the perceived appearance of opportunities for abuse, the 'Ambassador' program, as presently constituted, should be immediately eliminated to restore integrity and confidence to the local election process."

Hall and Williams also called for better hiring and training of election workers. And they said that the number of election precincts in the city should be dramatically reduced -- along with the city's steep decline in population -- to make elections more efficient.

They were appointed to investigate allegations of election irregularities in a lawsuit filed by Maureen Taylor, who lost a bid for a city council seat in the August, 2005 primary election.

The ambassador program stirred considerable controversy in recent months.

A Detroit News investigation of the program found evidence that ambassadors illegally coaxed mentally incompetent people to vote. A subsequent investigation by the Michigan Secretary of State's office found similar problems.

Ultimately, the FBI also joined the investigation of voting irregularities, and Currie was voted out of office in the November general election.

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pb cs.dll/article?AID=/20051219/M ETRO/51219001

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