ElectionsOpinion

Michigan Signature Scandal Drops GOP Candidates and Others from Ballot

Five GOP candidates for Michigan governor and a handful of other candidates were dropped from the ballot after officials said the signatures they turned in were fraudulent. Each candidate in Michigan is required to turn in 15,000 valid signatures in order to be placed on the ballot. The “circulators” who turned in the petitions for candidates went from turning in valid ones previously, to fraudulent ones, according to a report on the Michigan signature scandal from the Board of Elections.

There is a presumption of validity in Michigan with regard to signatures, so the GOP is asking the Elections Board to verify each signature – one by one. Unfortunately, when so many of the signatures appeared to be identical, the presumption flies out the window. The persons who circulated the petitions were “contractors” who had done the same job before. The elections board specifically said they had no evidence to suggest any of the candidates knew what they had done until the board action.

Those circulating the petitions could get from $5-$7 per signature on up to $20 per name.

Michigan signature scandal

The bureau found signatures written in identical handwriting and many other indicators of fraud, including a “robin process” in which circulators pass around petitions for multiple candidates and take turn signing to make the petitions look genuine. Officials also found many dead voters and others who no longer lived at the addresses where they were listed.

Bureau staff determined that five of the 10 Republican candidates for governor had fewer than the 15,000 valid signatures required when signatures collected by petition circulators involved in fraud were disqualified. Those candidates are: former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, Oakland County businessman and “quality guru” Perry Johnson, Byron Center businesswoman Donna Brandenburg, Grand Haven financial adviser Michael Markey and Michigan State Police Capt. Mike Brown of Stevensville, who already announced Tuesday he is ending his campaign.

Detroit Free Press

Michigan’s primary is August 2. These 5 GOP candidates have been dropped from the ballot: left to right clockwise; James Craig, Michael Brown, Donna Brandenburg, Perry Johnson and Michael Markey

It appears that the petition circulators who turned in the signatures for “Captain Mike”, then began doing the same job for other candidates in order to make a few more bucks. After they were disqualified for fraud, it left 5 GOP candidates, one Democrat candidate and nine judicial candidates short of the number of signatures required to remain on the ballot.

Screenshot via Talking Points Memo

Captain Mike hired a firm, “First Choice Contracting” owned by Shawn Wilmoth, who pled guilty to election fraud in 2011. He said that some of the people involved in his campaign knew of the company, which was used by other candidates. There are few choices for such companies in Michigan. The final decision rests with the election board as to whether to remove the names.

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H/T Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children

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Faye Higbee

Faye Higbee is the columnist manager for Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. All of her posts on Conservative Firing Line are also posted on Uncle Sam's.

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