Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., addresses supporters during the Michigan Democratic election night party in Detroit, Nov. 6, 2012.
Carlos Osorio—AP
May 23, 2014 6:30 PM EDT

A federal judge in Michigan ordered that longtime U.S. Representative John Conyers be put on the ballot in August after election officials said he was ineligible because many of his necessary nominating petitions were disqualified.

The officials said the Detroit Democrat could not be on the primary ballot because the people who gathered signatures for him weren’t registered voters or listed a wrong registration address, leaving him more than 400 short of the necessary number of petitions.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman overturned the officials’ decision after civil rights activists and Conyers’ lawyers argued that the law setting requirements for people gathering signatures was unconstitutional, the Associated Press reports. A similar law in Ohio was struck down in federal court in 2008.

Conyers, 85, has been in Congress since 1965 and has consistently won re-election, at times with more than 80 percent of the vote, including in 2012. He is a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus and, if re-elected, would be the longest-serving member of congress.


Write to Noah Rayman at

Read More From TIME

Related Stories