Michigan GOP candidates in gubernatorial race face possible disqualification over fake petitions: report

Michigan GOP candidates in gubernatorial race face possible disqualification over fake petitions: report
Voting booth attendants show Tech. Sgt. Rebekah Virtue voting literature at the Spouses' Club Spring Bazaar March 27, 2010, Eielson Air Force Base. The booth attendants were available to get people registered to vote and answer any questions they might have. Sergeant Virtue is a 354th Medical Group Family Practice NCO in charge.(U.S. Air Force photo by/Airman 1st Class Janine Thibault).

Five Republican gubernatorial candidates in the state of Michigan are facing the possibility of disqualification over fraudulent petitions, HuffPost reports.

According to the Michigan Bureau of Elections' report filed on Monday, May 23, recommendations have been made to disqualify nearly half of the gubernatorial hopefuls representing the state's Republican Party. The bureau has reportedly identified a total of "36 people who circulated candidate petitions who 'submitted fraudulent petition sheets consisting entirely of invalid signatures.'”

The candidates facing scrutiny have been identified as: "James Craig, Perry Johnson, Michael Brown, Michael Markey Jr., and Donna Brandenburg," according to MLive.

“The Bureau’s review of sheets submitted by fraudulent-petition circulators has resulted in determinations that many candidates have insufficient petitions for this election,” the report stated.

It also noted: “The Bureau is unaware of another election cycle in which this many circulators submitted such a substantial volume of fraudulent petition sheets consisting of invalid signatures, nor an instance in which it affected as many candidate petitions as at present."

If the bureau's report is accepted by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers on Thursday, May 26, five out of the 10 Republican gubernatorial candidates will be disqualified and tossed off the ballot for Michigan's primary on August 2, 2022.

While such instances of invalid signatures are usually rare cases, the bureau acknowledged that it discovered "wholesale fraud" in connection with this particular situation, per HuffPost. In response to the bureau's report, some candidates have expressed opposition. Speaking to FOX 2, James Craig said, “I’m the threat. You know what’s sad about this? The people of Michigan should have a say on who should lead their state, fair and square.”

Craig added, “I can’t prove anything right now, but I am going to get to the bottom of it, because they wanted me out.”

John Yob, a political strategist who works for Johnson’s campaign, also expressed concern via Twitter.

“The staff of the Democrat Secretary of Staff does not have the right to unilaterally void every single signature obtained by the alleged forgers who victimized five campaigns,” Yob tweeted, adding, “We strongly believe they are refusing to count thousands of signatures from legitimate voters who signed the petitions and look forward to winning this fight before the Board, and if necessary, in the courts."

The winner of the Republican gubernatorial primary race will be the opponent challenging Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), who is facing no challengers from the Democratic Party.

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