The city clerk race has become interesting this year. It’s usually a sleeper with candidates nobody really cares about.
But between issues around the last general election and a dynamic figure appearing on the stage, it’s been something to watch and research.
Gilchrist II may have been an unknown figure to most media, but he was known to us. Before he was running for anything (or we knew he was running for anything), he stopped by our Daily Detroit Happy Hour Podcast to talk about Detroit technology.
When he announced he was running for City Clerk, we were initially skeptical. This is a town that historically has gone for name recognition above almost all else.
After he defeated Heaster Wheeler, a long-time operator in the Detroit scene with more name recognition in the primary, Gilchrist II deserved a closer look — especially after what happened in the last general election.
On a personal level, two of our Detroit resident team members had bad voting experiences.
In the case of one, the poll workers clearly weren’t trained. The line was long while they got their stuff together, and the mechanical issues were so bad the vote was dropped in another box.
Sure, the mechanical issues could have been explained away with new gear. But the poll workers didn’t know how to deal with it.
They just stared at it like it was some sort of magic box. This doesn’t build trust, and then were clearly “well, maybe we’ll do this…” which is problem solving — but they should immediately know what to do if there’s a problem.
Beyond that, the most recent presidential election had issues with the ballot boxes not being able to recounted. Poll workers got the number of people who voted wrong. 60 percent of precincts could not be recounted due to this human error and two thirds had more votes than voters.
It was not fraud, but it was a sign of incompetence and poor training. And that isn’t the equipment. That’s the process. We believe the current City Clerk, Janice Winfrey, owns the responsibility for that poor process.
Not to mention, Detroit continues to be slow in reporting election results. Winfrey has been in the office since 2005.
We also despise the long-standing practice of using city dollars to pay for informational billboards to plaster “So and so, City Clerk” (or any office, for that matter) all over town.
We hope Garlin Gilchrist II, who has made this somewhat of an issue in the campaign, steps up and doesn’t do this himself. Also, that the practice is ended across all offices for billboards paid for by taxpayers.
Admittedly, Gilchrist II is on the younger side at 34 when seeking this office. But his technical experience with the Obama campaign, as National Campaign Director for MoveOn.org, and Director of Technology for the City of Detroit, show that he actually understands what’s going on.
Garlin Gilchrist II has the potential of being the kind of leader that embodies the future of Detroit that we want to see. Our city, standing tall.
And so we believe Garlin Gilchrist II is the best choice for Detroit City Clerk.
Although we have an opinion, we encourage you to do your own research. Here are some resources:
Janice Winfrey Campaign Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janicewinfreycityclerk/
Janice Winfrey Campaign Website: http://janice4thewin.com/
Janice Winfrey Ballotpedia: https://ballotpedia.org/Janice_Winfrey
Garlin Gilchrist II Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gilchristforcityclerk/
Garlin Gilchrist II Campaign Website: https://www.gilchristforcityclerk.com/
Garlin Gilchrist II Ballotpedia: https://ballotpedia.org/Garlin_Gilchrist_II