If someone carries the same name as an elected official, should they have to reconsider running for office in an election?
That was the question asked by attorney H. Wallace Parker on Thursday afternoon, following the arraignment of John Charles Scott, 22, at 51st District Court in Waterford on one charge of election fraud.
Chief assistant prosecutor Paul Walton said Wednesday that Scott, an independent candidate challenging incumbent County Commissioner John A. Scott (R-5th District) in the Nov. 6 election, claimed he witnessed signatures on a petition to put him on the ballot, which investigators say was false.
The maximum penalty if convicted, Walton said, would be 93 days in jail.
The challenger Scott, a West Bloomfield resident and student at Eastern Michigan University, was given $10,000 personal bond.
The incumbent Scott, currently running to represent West Bloomfield, Sylvan Lake, Orchard Lake Village, Keego Harbor and Waterford, said Wednesday that the challenger ran solely in order to "confuse the election process."
Parker, who operates a private practice based in Bloomfield Hills, said simply that he could find nothing wrong with what the challenger had done.
"It's starting to look like a political move to push the gentleman down because he wanted to run for county commissioner," Parker said. "There's nothing wrong with that, is there?"
Parker continued that the challenger had become interested upon hearing that the incumbent Scott might be running for a township office instead of reelection for a sixth-consecutive term to the Board of Commissioners.
The incumbent Scott said that he asked the Sheriff's Department to investigate in late August after supporters of his said that they signed a petition to put him on the ballot.
The incumbent paid a $100 fee in order to get on the ballot, foregoing the petition process.
Scott said that on separate occasions that a "20-something woman" and two men were circulating petitions on behalf of the challenger.
Parker further questioned the location of the proceedings in Waterford, which is where the incumbent Scott lives. Parker claimed that the case should be held at 6th Circuit Court in Pontiac, where the Board of Commissioners meets.
The challenger Scott has an Oct. 23 court date in front of Judge Richard Kuhn.