The Michigan Bureau of Elections says it has found an unprecedented number of invalid signatures by candidates attempting to run for office.

Officials say their investigation found an estimated 68,000 invalid signatures spread across 10 different campaigns.

Those invalid signatures may knock a bunch of candidates off the ballot, including several people running for governor.

The bureau released its findings Monday night, saying:

“Although it is typical for staff to encounter some signatures of dubious authenticity scattered within nominating petitions, 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.”

The report also named some three dozen people who collected the invalid signatures. It specifically does not blame the candidates or campaigns:

“At this point, the Bureau does not have reason to believe that any specific candidates or campaigns were aware of the activities of fraudulent-petition circulators”

The report says people named in many of the invalid petitions had moved out of the area months or years before they signed or even that they “died prior to the date of signing”.

The report said it found:

  • An unusually large number of petition sheets where every signature line was completed, or where every line was completed but one or two lines were crossed out
  • An unusually large number of petition sheets that showed no evidence of normal wear that accompanies circulation, including folding, scuffing, minor water damage from rain, or any of the other characteristics that come from sheets being kept on clipboards and handled by multiple people in public or outdoor conditions.
  • Sheets that appeared to be “round-tabled” a practice in which a group of individuals passes around sheets with each individual signing one line on each sheet with handwriting different from the circulator’s handwriting, in an attempt to make handwriting and signatures appear authentic and received from actual voters.
  • Sheets on which every instance of the handwriting of certain letters across different signatory lines and sheets, including in the signatures themselves, was near-identical

And they included pictures:

This page includes identical signature petition pages across different campaigns.

The report says is that the election bureau is working with the Michigan Department of State’s Office of Investigative Services to refer apparent fraud cases to law enforcement so they can investigate.

Stay tuned to 6 News for continuing coverage of this story and Election 2022.