As the election draws nearer, get to know who will be on your ballot and make an educated vote.

Detroit municipal elections will be held Nov. 7. This year, the position of mayor, city clerk and seats on the city council are up for election. There are two proposals regarding medical marijuana on the ballot.

How do I register to vote?

To register to vote, you must fill out the State of Michigan Voter Registration Application and deliver it to your city or township clerk. The deadline to register for the Detroit municipal elections passed Oct. 7.

How do I know if I am registered to vote?

Visit this site to verify your voter registration information, as well as view your sample ballot for the upcoming election.

Where can I vote for the Detroit municipal elections?

A list of polling locations in Detroit can be found here.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. You must be a resident of Detroit to participate in the municipal elections. 


Mike Duggan

Mike Duggan was elected mayor of Detroit in 2013 and is seeking re-election. Under Duggan’s leadership, Detroit has made several large advancements – especially in the Midtown and downtown area. Duggan has taken action to get rid of blight throughout the city and has cracked down on graffiti that has stained buildings for years. Duggan has also initiated a $30-million Strategic Neighborhood Investment Fund, which is intended to help renovate houses and attract businesses to three neighborhoods in Detroit. However, Duggan is criticized by many for not taking more action on some of the crumbling neighborhoods in other parts of the city. Duggan supports the idea of making car insurance more affordable in Detroit, though he has not done much to cut some insurance rates. Moreover, Duggan stands behind the immigrant population of Detroit. According to the Detroit Free Press, Duggan said, “Detroit will stand as a pro-immigration city. We’re not going to waver.” Furthermore, Duggan has assisted in the improvement of Detroit’s economy. When Duggan took office, the unemployment rate in Detroit was over 17 percent; today it is at about 9 percent. Public safety in Detroit has also seen some improvement under Duggan. Violent offenses per 100,000 people decreased since the beginning of Duggan’s tenure. Duggan said he hopes to expand the amount of police and firefighters throughout the city. 

Coleman Young II

Coleman Young II - son of the first black mayor of Detroit, Coleman A. Young - has been a member of the Michigan State Senate since 2010. Previously, he served in the Michigan House of Representatives for five years. As part of the Senate, Young sat on the committees of Education, Energy and Technology, Insurance and Appropriations. Moreover, he was vice chair of the following committees: Local Government and Election; Outdoor Recreation and Tourism; and Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing. Young promises to expand the number of police stations across Detroit and provide the Detroit Police Department with new technology that assists in the tracking of gunshots. He plans to push auto insurance reform that only allows a driving record to determine rates, not credit score. Young also wants to expand the school day and year “so that students have longer exposure to the learning environment and less time on the streets,” according to his website. Young desires to implement economic policies that reduces the amount of regulation for entrepreneurs. Additionally, he wants to “bring back African Town to help monetize our culture and history for small businesses.” Young is pushing for a universal health care system in Detroit and wants to establish preventative health care measures throughout the city. Young is also a supporter of the $15/hour minimum wage. 

City Council


Brenda Jones

Brenda Jones was first elected to the Detroit City Council in 2005 and is currently running for re-election. According to the City Council website, she pledges her commitment to Jobs, Opportunities, Neighborhoods, Education and Safety (JONES). Jones is the former President of Communications Workers of America, Local 4004 and is currently serving on a number of boards with a focus on worker’s, women’s and minority’s rights.

Janee’ Ayers

Janee’ Ayers was appointed to the Detroit City Council in 2015 due to the resignation of a sitting council-member. Ayers is currently on four committees: Internal Operations, Budget, Audit & Finance, Rules and Public Health & Safety. She has passed bills with the purpose of combating blight, making public spaces safer and providing senior citizens with discounts on property taxes.

Mary Waters

Mary Waters ran for U.S House of Representatives to represent the 14th Congressional District of Michigan in 2012. She also ran for Michigan State Senate in 2010. Waters ran as a Democrat in both of her previous elections. On Water’s website, she said, “I run to represent the interests of single mothers, families and the children of majority Detroit where over 80 percent of our children live in poverty with schools that don’t work.” Waters also said she wants to put a focus on the neighborhoods of Detroit, “not just midtown and downtown.”

Beverly Kindle-Walker

Beverly Kindle-Walker served as a legislative assistant for several local politicians and was also a political organizer for the American Federation of Teachers. According to the Detroit Free Press,Kindle-Walker said, “The two most important issues facing the city of Detroit which impact the quality of life, is neighborhood stabilization and public safety. These issues are closely followed by high unemployment, a largely dysfunctional education system, the lack of sustaining revenue streams, an unfair insurance rate structure and the absence of democracy, all of which are not insurmountable.” Kindle-Walker said she identifies with the Democratic and Green Parties.

District 1

James Tate

James Tate was elected to the Detroit City Council in 2009 and is seeking re-election. Tate currently sits on two boards: Detroit Zoological Society and Authority Health. Additionally, he is the Chair of the Task Force on Black Male Engagement. Tate attended Wayne State University; he worked as deputy chief for the Detroit Police Department and was an assignment editor for WXYZ-TV. 

Tamara Smith

Tamara Smith is a Detroit native who advocates an increase in neighborhood patrol, lower auto insurance rates and reconstruction of the west-side neighborhood of Brightmoor. On her website, Smith wrote, “I am NOT a professional politician, but a fighter and advocate for our kids, seniors, parents, neighbors and working families. I will do what’s right for my constituents to secure a better quality of life here in Detroit."

District 2

Roy McCalister Jr.

Roy McCalister Jr. previously ran for Michigan House of Representatives in 2014 as a Democratic candidate. McCalister worked as an investigator for the Federal Defender Office and as lieutenant detective for the Detroit Police Department. Additionally, he was commanding officer of the Detroit Police Homicide Section. My initiatives are: Ensuring our financial stability that Detroit is never placed in the past financial position again; revitalization and stabilization of our neighborhoods; enhancement of small businesses in Detroit; jobs — through retraining and employment placement; placing Detroit back on track as a competitor in a world-class economy/market," McCalister said to the Detroit Free Press.

Virgil Smith

Virgil Smith was a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from 2003-2008 and the Michigan State Senate from 2011-2016 as a member of the Democratic Party. In addition to politics, Smith also has experience in the business field. Smith found himself in trouble with the law when he shot his ex-wife’s Mercedes-Benz in 2015, according to The Detroit News. Smith accepted a plea deal which forced him to resign from the Michigan State Legislature and spend 10 months in jail, as well as pay $20,000.

District 3

Scott Benson

Scott Benson was elected to the Detroit City Council in 2013 and is seeking re-election this year. He ran for Michigan House of Representatives in 2012 as a Democratic candidate but was defeated by Brian Banks. Benson was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard for 24 years. As city councilman, Benson has initialized programs to help reduce blight, shut down illegal marijuana dispensaries and close strip clubs across Detroit with a history of violence. In 2015, Benson was arrested for drinking and driving by the Southfield Police Department, who found Benson passed out in his car with a blood alcohol level of 0.24, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Russ Bellant

Russ Bellant is a “lifelong Democrat,” according to his website. He served in the U.S Army, was appointed to the Detroit Library Commission and was Chief of Staff for State Representative Wendell Byrd. Bellant pledges to make water more affordable and to end mass residential water shut-offs in Detroit. He also promises “to not spend tax dollars intended for our schools on sports arenas,” according to his website.

District 4

Andre Spivey

Andre Spivey is running for re-election in 2017, as he was elected to the Detroit City Council in 2009. Spivey is a Detroit native who promises to increase funding for the police and fire departments, as well as the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and bring together the neighborhoods of Detroit. He is the chair of the Internal Operations Committee and is part of the Neighborhood Services Committee. 

Latisha Johnson

Latisha Johnson is a University of Michigan graduate who has worked primarily in the business field. She ranked government transparency, civil rights and housing as the three most important issues affecting Detroit. She believes that increased economic opportunity is the best way to combat crime.

District 6

Raquel Castaneda-Lopez

Castaneda-Lopez was elected to the Detroit City Council in 2013 and is seeking re-election. Castaneda-Lopez worked as an adviser and program manager at WSU and is a social worker with over 10 years of experience in the public sector. She is trying to pass an ordinance that expands public art across the city. Additionally, she is working on an ordinance to authorize the supervision of environmental pollutants. 

Tyrone Carter

Tyrone Carter is a Detroit native who attended Central Michigan University. He has worked for the Wayne Country Sherriff Police Academy and the FBI National Academy. In 2008, he retired as executive lieutenant after serving 25 years at the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. In 2014, he ran for Michigan House of Representatives as a Democrat but was defeated by Stephanie Chang in the primary elections. On his website, Carter said his values are, “family, faith, integrity, purpose, people over politics and community.”

District 7

Gabe Leland

Gabe Leland was a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from 2005-2010 as a Democrat. In 2013, he was elected to the Detroit City Council and is now seeking re-election. Leland has a focus on infrastructure; he helped form the M-1 Rail legislation and is directing money for infrastructure to improve roads across Detroit. While part of the state legislature, Leland chaired the House Committee on Urban Policy. 

Regina Ross

Regina Ross, who was born in Detroit and received her bachelor’s degree from WSU, was a Democratic candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives in 2016. She was a teacher at Detroit Public Schools, specializing in adult education, as well as early childhood education. Ross said, “[WSU] students living in District 7 should vote for me because a vote for me is a vote for themselves. I’m sure we all want fairness, equity, integrity, honesty and transparency. WSU students along with myself would like clean, well-lit, debris-free streets and sidewalks, growth and stability of our economy; training and employment for citizens.” On her website, Ross said she plans to “defend quality public education, police our neighborhoods, shut drug houses down, demolish dangerous buildings and fix the potholes.”


City Clerk

Janice Winfrey

Janice Winfrey was elected as Detroit city clerk in 2005 and is seeking re-election. Winfrey ran for U.S. House of Representatives in 2016 as a member of the Democratic Party but was defeated by John Conyers Jr. Winfrey said she plans on improving government transparency and strengthening Social Security.

Garlin Gilchrist II

Garlin Gilchrist II attended the University of Michigan and obtained degrees in engineering and computer science. He worked on former President Barack Obama’s campaign as a social media manager and became a community organizer in Washington D.C. where he used “technology to make sure everyday people had a way to make their voices heard by people with political power,” according to his website. After coming back to his hometown of Detroit, Gilchrist said he made, “public information and records easy to access without petitioning the city government.”


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