Michigan Signature Petition Fraud Is Widespread

Michigan Signature Petition Fraud Is Widespread
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

The State of Michigan has received a great deal of attention lately regarding petition signature gathering for statewide candidates and ballot initiatives. Michigan is one of those states where candidates have to gather a certain number of signatures in order to appear on the ballot.

Just last week, five candidates running in the GOP primary for governor were disqualified when it was revealed that many of the signatures on their candidate petitions were fraudulent. One of those candidates who was disqualified is former Detroit police chief James Craig.

Fifteen thousand valid signatures were needed to qualify, but unfortunately for Craig — who many say was leading the race — ten thousand of his signatures were deemed fraudulent. Craig, who is African American, has told conservative media that he believes this election is being “stolen” from him.

Back on May 11th, I told you about all the shenanigans and dirty tricks my organization and SecureMIVote.org encountered while trying to gather signatures for a photo ID ballot initiative:

Opponents of an effort to expand Michigan’s voter identification requirements orchestrated a “scheme to pay off” petition circulators in violation of campaign finance laws, a complaint obtained by The Detroit News alleged. Dustin Wefel, a Michigan petition gatherer, was behind the complaint to the Secretary of State’s office, targeting Protect MI Vote, the group opposing the effort to institute new ID standards for elections. Wefel’s filing claimed Protect MI Vote worked with a consulting firm, Groundgame Political Solutions, to compensate petition gatherers, in part, so they wouldn’t assist the Secure MI Vote initiative, making it difficult for the group to advance its proposal. The payments weren’t properly disclosed in fundraising reports, the complaint alleged. The filing cited text messages and a $50,000 contract betweenGroundgame and Wefel. Read more…

Despite the opposition’s shady efforts, we collected over 435,000 signatures by the June 1st deadline. This was 95,000 more signatures than we actually needed. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we discovered that 20,000 of our signatures were fraudulent with a whopping 17,000 signatures coming from one contracted group. Below is a June 1st statement from SecureMIVote.org spokesman Jamie Roe:

This campaign has faced unprecedented challenges from the start even though our primary issue is supported by more than 80% of Michigan voters. We’ve had millions in national left wing dark money pour into Michigan solely focused on stopping us from making elections more secure. We had a Michigan Supreme Court ruling right in the middle of our effort, that had nothing to do with our effort, but forced us to reprint every petition we had in circulation. If we submit today, we are confident we have enough valid signatures to survive any challenge, but we wouldn’t have the cushion we need to be certain.

I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to believe the same shady shenanigans that occurred with the nominating petitions for governor, also filtered into our efforts for a photo ID ballot initiative. Those 17,000 fraudulent signatures will not stop our effort but will only temporarily delay them. SecureMiVote.org and Americans for Citizen Voting don’t plan on taking this fraud lying down. We will not just blow it off as just the cost of doing business. We are working with our legal counsel to identify what charges can be filed and in what jurisdiction those charges can be filed. Stay tuned!

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