Official’s complaint rejected, Fouts stays on the ballot

By: Andy Kozlowski, Gena Johnson | C&G Newspapers | Published May 23, 2024

 JIm Fouts and Mike McFall will face off in the Democratic primary on Aug. 6.

JIm Fouts and Mike McFall will face off in the Democratic primary on Aug. 6.


HAZEL PARK/WARREN — On May 17, the Michigan Bureau of Elections determined former Warren Mayor James Fouts’ affidavit of identity was valid as a candidate in the newly redistricted District 14 of the Michigan House of Representatives. As a result, Fouts will remain on the primary ballot for the seat representing parts of Warren, Hazel Park, Center Line and Madison Heights.

Fouts is running in the Democratic primary against state Rep. Mike McFall, currently representing what is now District 8 of the Michigan House. McFall previously served on the Hazel Park City Council.    

Hazel Park City Manager Edward Klobucher filed a complaint with state elections officials on April 30, questioning the validity of Fouts’ affidavit of identity and alleging that the former Warren mayor signed the document on April 16 and that the affidavit was not notarized until April 19. This would mean Fouts’ signature was not properly notarized before the notary. Klobucher was reading Fouts’ handwritten “9” as a “6.”

All candidates for the Michigan House of Representatives must submit a notarized affidavit of identity as part of the filing process.

In a letter to Klobucher, Michigan Bureau of Elections Director Jonathan Brater stated, “Mr. Fouts appeared at the Bureau and signed the AOI on April 19. Accordingly, the Department has determined that, whether the signature by Mr. Fouts on the AOI appears to more closely resemble April 16, 2024 or April 19, 2024, the AOI is facially (appears valid and in correct form) compliant with MCL 168.558. Therefore, because the AOI filed by Mr. Fouts meets the strict compliance requirements of MCL 168.558, the department is rejecting your affidavit of identity challenge.”

The letter also referred to the other “9s” Fouts wrote on the document.

“Upon review, the Department agrees that the date Fouts signed is April 19. The ‘9’ used by Mr. Fouts when dating his AOI closely resembles his ‘9’ included in his zip code and does not bear any resemblance to the ‘6’ used by Mr. Fouts when writing the date of the primary,” stated Brater.

Klobucher contends this was an inquiry that needed to be made.

“The affidavit came to my attention, and it looked like the wrong date,” said Klobucher, addressing how he became involved in the matter. “If (Fouts) was able to convince the state that he signed the affidavit in front of the notary, then that’s fine. But to attribute anything else to my intention here is just nonsense.”

Fouts, however, cried foul.

“This was a petty and malicious attempt to keep me off the ballot by McFall’s former colleague City Manager Klobucher,” Fouts said in a statement.  “Mr. Klobucher is the City Manager of Hazel Park. What is the relationship with my opponent that would lead him to examine my affidavit of identity in the first place?”

According to Klobucher, he filed the complaint to maintain the integrity of the election process.

“This was just about honoring the integrity of the process,” Klobucher said. “That’s all there is to it.”

Fouts noted, if he had been taken off the ballot, there would be no need for a primary because the only candidates are McFall and Fouts running as Democrats.

“Ballot tampering or an attempt to fix the election should be roundly rejected by voters of the State House 14th District,” the statement from Fouts read. “Had McFall’s attempt been successful (then) there would have been no primary in the 14th District, thus thwarting the will of the voters!”

Klobucher addressed the “9” that looked like a “6.”

“What did I say from the very beginning? The dates did not look accurate, but it should be investigated by the state, and now that the state has determined there’s no violation, I consider this matter closed,” Klobucher said.

Fouts and McFall will face off in the Aug. 6 primary election. The winner will move on to the November ballot along with the uncontested Republican candidate for the seat, Barbara Barber.

Call Staff Writer Gena Johnson at (586) 498-1069. Call Staff Writer Andy Kozlowski at (586) 498-1046.