Frontrunners in Michigan’s gubernatorial election may be disqualified from race for falsifying requisite nomination signatures
A New Michigan Bureau of Elections report finds that five candidates in the Republican primary for Governor, including favorite James Craig, did not submit enough valid petition signatures to make it on the ballot for the primary in early August.
The Bureau recommends eliminating candidates James Craig, Perry Johnson, Donna Brandenburg, Michael Brown and Michael Markey for failing to supply the requisite 15,000 valid signatures.
The report finds over half of Craig’s signatures to be fraudulent, claiming a team of 18 paid circulators worked together to fill out 9,879 petitions. Members of this same group also created 6,983 petitions for Johnson. Over 42,000 signatures for Brandenburg, Brown, and Markey were also invalidated during the review.
Democrats and Republicans alike have previously suspected many of Craig’s signatures to be fake. The Bureau makes clear, however, that their findings were discovered independently of unprocessed challenges filed by the Michigan Democratic Party and Devos family endorsed Republican Tudor Dixon.
The Bureau recommends that “candidates and campaigns implement a quality control process before filing petitions, and to cross out any invalid signatures proper to submission.”
Multiple irregularities during review alerted staff to the possibility of signature fraud. They found an abnormal amount of signature sheets completely filled out and without any signs of the wear and tear of canvassing. Additionally, they report abnormal amounts of signatures from dead voters, invalid addresses, and incorrectly spelled names.
The Bureau of Elections also stated it is referring the fraud to law enforcement for a criminal investigation, but “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.”