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Lawsuit filed over Detroit election inspectors

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Janice Winfrey Janice Winfrey
D. Etta Wilcoxson D. Etta Wilcoxson
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Detroit voters go to the polls Tuesday for the primary, or will they?

D. Etta Wilcoxon, who is running for Detroit city clerk, said the city's election process right now is illegal.

"We're thinking that it cannot be held as things currently stand, and we don't see an avenue for Ms. Winfrey to cure this difficulty. She should've done it months ago," Wilcoxon said.

Wilcoxon is facing incumbent Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey.

A lawsuit filed Friday alleges the Detroit Election Commission has not approved the election inspectors.

Winfrey is chairperson of the Election Commission.

The inspectors review and count ballots and are required by state law to be identified publicly and be pre-approved.

"The election is Tuesday. We have a public right to know who these people are. They are not using the people that they've used before, some of them for a number of years, and we don't know why," Wilcoxon said.

Jocelyn Benson, the dean of the Wayne State University Law School, told us that state law requires approval of election inspectors 21 days in advance of an election.

The lawsuit is now moving into Wayne County Circuit Court.

Can this lawsuit derail the entire election Tuesday? We asked some of the mayoral candidates.

"It's not surprising considering the history of this particular election. This is just one in a series of hiccups and bumps along the way. But I would be very surprised if anything happened that would stop this election from moving forward," said Benny Napoleon.

"If she's filed a lawsuit, it's very simple. A court will look at the suit. But I think precedent will show that the court is very, very reluctant to stop an election that's been scheduled," said Fred Durhal.

Friday evening, Winfrey said she will comply with the law, and in an 11 a.m. meeting Monday, the election inspectors will be formerly approved.

If that happens, Benson feels the election will move forward.

In addition to Wilcoxon, political activist Robert Davis is involved with this lawsuit.

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