Abdul El-Sayed Files Signatures for Governor’s Race Amid Questions of Eligibility

There have been questions about whether El-Sayed is even eligible to run.

Laura Weber Davis/WDET

In the race for Michigan’s next governor, a Democrat crossed a significant hurdle today. Abdul El-Sayed was the first Democrat to file his signatures to get on the ballot.

But there have been questions about whether El-Sayed is even eligible to run.

Bridge Magazine first reported that his voting history could derail his campaign.

“I am 100 percent eligible to run for governor and we will do everything that we need to move forward in terms of both getting on that ballot and more importantly having the conversations that matter about ideals and ideas among voters in the state of Michigan to win that election,” said El-Sayed about the issue.  

In Michigan, you must be a qualified elector in the state for four years to be eligible to run for governor. El-Sayed voted in New York in 2012. He then didn’t vote in the 2016 Democratic primary and didn’t re-register to vote in Michigan until two weeks after that election. Now there’s a legal question about whether that invalidated his Michigan registration and subsequent eligibility to run for governor.

A spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s office says it won’t look into El-Sayed’s eligibility on its own. Rather, someone would have to file a challenge. El-Sayed is confident he would beat any hypothetical challenges.

“I can’t tell you what’s on other people’s minds,” he said. “I do know that I am eligible, and I think everybody else in this race does too, so, we’ll see.”


  • Cheyna Roth
    Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She's also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.