Incumbent Janice Winfrey Competes To Keep Her Job As Detroit City Clerk

espite last November's snafu, City Clerk Janice Winfrey says past issues have been fixed and that with years of experience behind her, she's ready for what lies ahead.

Past Experience: Three terms as Detroit City Clerk 

Education Background: Cass Technical High School; Eastern Michigan University (B.S. Public Administration); Wayne State University (Certification in Math)

On her experience as city clerk…

Of course my decades of experience as a clerk of the city of Detroit is what propels my candidacy – and it makes me the proven leader and the best choice for the position. I've always received rave reviews after every election, after 25 elections. November 2016 was the only one where I didn't get the rave reviews, but again, we learned from November 2016. And consequently, the primary of 2017 was very successful where by 85 percent of my precincts were perfect.

On preventing voting issues…

(In 2016), the state of Michigan went from blue to red, went from Democrat to Republican, so you're automatically audited – and what the audit found was that there was human error on the part of the poll workers. And we adjusted that by increasing poll worker training and recruiting a better quality of poll worker. … In addition to that, we have our new voting devices that we implemented very nicely. We knew that the 10-year-old voting devices that we had in 2016 were problematic, but it is up to the state to purchase the voting equipment. They identified the top three vendors, and then the county clerk selects the one that will be used, and then myself, the city clerk, implements the device. In other words, we simply make sure that you know how to use it. We were very successful at that; 95 percent of my results (from the 2017 primary) were in by 10 p.m., and so all of that is a vast improvement from November 2016.


On the most challenging part of the job…

Education. Education. Education. Some of us, those of us who are Bible scholars, know that people parish for the lack of knowledge. And educating our community is always of the utmost importance. You see, you have people out here that try to keep you home on Election Day by saying that "The system is corrupt" that "your vote won't count," and the like. All of those are falsehoods, and our job at the department of elections and the clerk's office is to educate the populous, educate the community, and we do that several ways. The most, I think, effective way is the newsletters that I send out to every registered household in the city of Detroit. That newsletter comes out before every election, every time since I've been elected in 2006. … It always has a sample ballot in there, and it always, always identifies the polling locations. Those are important entities that our voters need to know, so they feel good about going into the polling location on Election Day, and they feel knowledgeable – if they read it (laughs).

On what she'd like voters to know about her…

I'm a worker bee. I'm a working clerk. Many times, people in this position – well, prior to me, let me say – consider this position a "retired position," if you will. It absolutely is not. I work hard for Detroiters, I always have, all of my life. … I work very hard to ensure that whatever I'm charged with comes out well and that the people are proud to say that I'm the city clerk.

We chatted with competitor Garlin Gilchrist II, too. Read what he had to say here.

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