LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – If four GOP gubernatorial candidates want to be on the August primary ballot, they will have to convince the courts to put them on.
It’s because a state board is deadlocked on what to do about fraudulent signatures on the nominating petitions.
The State Elections Bureau contends that enough fraudulent petition signatures were found in the ballot boxes to disqualify them.
Candidates that may be knocked off the ballot include James Craig, Perry Johnson, Michael Markey and Donna Brandenburg.
Brandenburg was not too pleased with the process the state used to boot the quartet off the ballot.
“I find this process an arbitrary goat rodeo. It’s a shame. It’s an insult on the American people at every single level,” she said.
The State did not check every signature on the petitions.
Instead, The assumption was made that if one name was forged, all the other names on the same sheet were automatically tossed out.
“They can’t do automatic disqualification that is clearly forbidden by the case law. that violates Michigan law,” said Craig’s lawyer George Lewis.
“No, it doesn’t,” counters Democratic attorney Mark Brewer.
Brewer contends the state does not have to compare each petition signature with the state list of qualified voters.
“If the staff finds that circulators filed false names, you are authorized to proceed to disqualify every sheet of people without having to refer to the [qualified voter registry,]” said Brewer.
The two Republicans and two Democrats on the election board heard it all and then voted 2-2 to do nothing, meaning that the candidates are off the ballot for now.
“What concerns me is making assumptions on how much is fraud and tossing potentially valid signatures in that pool,” said Republican election board member Tony Daunt.
If these four candidates want to stay in the race, they’ll have to find some court to do just that.
Otherwise, the four will have more free time than expected this summer.