Eason considering legal action after being removed from Flint mayoral ballot

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FLINT (WJRT) - (06/13/19) - Gregory Eason would become the second mayoral candidate to file a lawsuit this election season following candidate Don Pfeiffer who made a legal complaint regarding errors in the candidates' affidavits.

Eason says he mistakenly checked the wrong boxes on the form. By doing so, he said that he was not a U.S. citizen, not a registered voter and did not meet the requirements to be Flint's mayor.

"The deputy clerk for the city of Flint instructed him line by line what to mark and what to check...even though he accepted the fact that there were errors," explained Alex Harris, Eason's spokesperson.

The Genesee County Election Commission essentially disqualified him from seeking the city's top seat.

RELATED: Flint resident booted off mayoral ballot, judge orders ballot printing be halted

Some of the mistakes could be "fatal errors," according to Michigan Election Law.

Eason amended his affidavit May 1. That's when Harris says the Flint city clerk's office notified him of the mistakes. That's also the date when the county clerk's office emailed the city clerk's office to make them aware of the errors.

The email from Genesee County Elections Supervisor Doreen Fulcher to Flint City Clerk Inez Brown reads in part, "We noticed that on his affidavit, Mr. Eason checked off that he is NOT a U.S. citizen, he does NOT meet statutory and constitutional requirements, and that he is NOT registered to vote."

City Clerk Inez Brown told ABC12 Friday that she immediately responded to the email to say she was making contact with Eason so that he could make the necessary changes. Brown says that on the same day Brown amended the affidavit and sent it to back to the county clerk's office.

Eason's affidavit wasn't the only one that was flawed. Current Mayor Karen Weaver didn't answer if she changed her name within the last 10 years. Instead, the question was left blank.

"I don't think any voter cares whether you changed your name in the last 10 years or not," said County Clerk John Gleason.

State Representative Sheldon Neeley selected that he was an incumbent judge in error.

"When you see multiple affidavits that have been qualified and there's no repercussions at all by the administration I find that too low of a standard," Gleason said.

The documents were certified by the city clerk's office April 26.

In light of the errors, candidate Don Pfeiffer filed a legal complaint, saying the others should be removed from the ballot. However, Gleason said Pfeiffer also had problems with his affidavit.

Gleason says Pfeiffer reportedly owed $500 in fines at the time that he signed the form, which is against the law.

So far, Eason is the only one to make an amendment even though it was after the April 23 deadline.

"He has engaged legal counsel, and we will fight vigorously to, not only clear his name from this slanderous and malicious distortions from the truth perpetrated by John Gleason, but he will move in an expedited way," Harris said. "Our legal counsel will be party to the action Monday."

Gleason says his office or himself should not be blamed here.

"I didn't say he wasn't a U.S. citizen, he [Eason] did. He's asking me to resign over the mistakes that he made," Gleason said.

ABC12 reached out to the Michigan Secretary of State's office for comment about removing or certifying candidates at this point.

"It is much too late in the process for the city or county to be making changes to the ballot at this time," said Communications Manager Michael Doyle.

Monday in Genesee County Circuit Court there is expected to be some resolution to Pfeiffer's lawsuit and the current ballot concerns.

"Ballots must be printed and available for issuance June 22. Local clerks must have them in hand on that date," Doyle said in an e-mail to ABC12.

ABC12 did not hear back from Pfeiffer, Weaver or Neeley for comment on the affidavits.

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