Some of the most prominent Republicans running to become Michigan’s next governor are being booted from the ballot after failing to obtain the state’s required amount of signatures. However, it’s not the lack of the candidates’ popularity amongst voters that contributed to their lack of signatures it was a group of petitioners who intentionally filled paperwork out with fraudulent signatures.
Chief James Craig of the Detroit Police Department and businessman Perry Johnson are now ineligible to pursue the Republican gubernatorial nomination and challenge Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Fox News reports:
Gubernatorial candidates are required to submit 15,000 valid signatures to appear on the state ballot. According to the bureau, the affected candidates were victimized via a series of petitioners who obtained nothing but invalid or otherwise unusable signatures, putting them well below the mark.
“Michigan’s petition process is fatally flawed because it easily allows criminals to victimize candidates for public office and their thousands of supporters who legitimately sign petitions,” Johnson said of the situation in a campaign statement Monday. “We must bring quality to the petition process by allowing campaigns a mechanism to compare signatures that are gathered by circulators with signatures on the Qualified Voter File to ensure their legitimacy.”
“Criminals can commit fraud for money or by purposely infiltrating a victimized campaign with illegitimate signatures in a Machiavellian attempt by the opposing party to later have them removed from the ballot,” Johnson continued. “Unfortunately, the signatures provided to campaigns cannot currently be checked until after their submission to the Secretary of State. This needs to change, immediately.”
The bureau said it tracked the invalid signatures to approximately 36 petitioners who submitted stacks of petitions with nothing but invalid or otherwise unusable signatures.
In total, five gubernatorial candidates in the state were found to have insufficient valid signatures: Craig, Johnson, Michael Markey, State Police Capt. Michael Brown and businesswoman Donna Brandenburg, according to the bureau.