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Bureau of Elections: 5 GOP gov candidates shouldn’t reach Aug 2 ballot

By Scott McClallen | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – The State Board of Canvassers will determine on Thursday whether five gubernatorial candidates will reach the Aug. 2 primary after a report says they didn’t collect the threshold of 15,000 valid signatures.

A Michigan Bureau of Elections report says five candidates shouldn’t reach the ballot:

  • Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig: 10,192 facially valid signatures, 11,113 invalid signatures.
  • Perry Johnson: 13,800 facially valid signatures, 9,393 invalid signatures.
  • Michael Brown: 7,091 facially valid signatures, 13,809 invalid signatures.
  • Michael Markey: 4,430 facially valid signatures, 17,374 invalid signatures.
  • Donna Brandenburg: 6,634 facially valid signatures, 11,144 invalid signatures.

Released Monday night, the report found that 36 petition circulators forged entire petition sheets totaling at least 68,000 signatures across 10 nominating petitions.

If those five are disqualified, then that would leave Tudor Dixon, Garrett Soldano, Ryan Kelley, Ralph Rebandt, and Kevin Rinke as GOP contenders. 

In a staff report, the bureau said 36 petition circulators “submitted fraudulent petition sheets consisting entirely of invalid signatures.”

The bureau said it was “unaware of another election cycle in which this many circulators submitted such a substantial volume of fraudulent petition sheets consisting of invalid signatures.”

“In total, the bureau estimates that these circulators submitted at least 68,000 invalid signatures submitted across 10 sets of nominating petitions,” the report said. “In several instances, the number of invalid signatures submitted by these circulators was the reason a candidate had an insufficient number of valid signatures.”

Dixon had 29,041 facially valid signatures out of 29,240. Democrats challenged Dixon’s nomination, but the report rejected the challenge.

Michigan’s DeVos family endorsed Dixon on Monday. She’s also backed by former President Donald Trump.

The Board of State Canvassers, a four-person bipartisan panel, will meet Thursday to discuss whether they follow or break the recommendations.

Jon Yob, a consultant for Johnson, said he plans to fight in front of the State Board of Canvassers and in court to keep some of the signatures collected by alleged forgers.

It’s unclear why petition circulators targeted this race or if circulators are also forging signatures on many concurrent ballot measures that include raising the minimum wage, capping the annual percentage of payday loans rate at 36%, creating state-based abortion rights, require ID and partial Social Security numbers to vote, and to limit state and local health department emergency orders to 28 days.

The winner of the Aug. 2 primary will face off against current Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November.

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