Signature Forging Threatens Michigan Governor Hopefuls

Five people who want to run against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) are in danger of being kicked off the ballot before the primary election.

This is because their campaigns sent in thousands of fake signatures.

On Monday evening, the Michigan Bureau of Elections made a formal proposal that five candidates, including two frontrunners, be removed from the August ballot paper.

The Board of State Canvassers, a bipartisan body, comprised of two Democrats and two Republicans, will consider the recommendation on Thursday. 

Number of Signatures

According to the bureau, retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig (R), who topped several early polls in the campaign, submitted only 10,192 valid signatures and over 10,000 allegedly false ones.

Perry Johnson (R), a prominent businessman, submitted 13,800 legitimate signatures and 9,393 invalid signatures, of which 6,983 were reportedly false. 

Additionally, three lesser-known candidates failed to submit sufficient valid signatures. 

To be on the ballot, candidates must provide 15,000 valid signatures. 

Five applicants, according to the Bureau of Elections, submitted petitions with clear indicators of fraud, including identical handwriting across many signatures and petitions that lacked the customary signs of wear and tear. 

Both the Michigan Democrat Party, as well as Tudor Dixon (R), a conservative activist likewise running for office, challenged the signatures.

However, the bureau stated it discovered the alleged scam independently, without factoring in external obstacles. 

According to the bureau’s findings, personnel saw a substantial number of petition sheets presented by certain circulators were fake and contained only invalid signatures.

According to them, some petitions exhibited indications of “round-tabling,” a procedure in which signature gatherers sign each other’s forms sequentially to change penmanship and make signatures look authentic. 

The agency stated it had no cause to suspect campaigns were aware of false signatures submitted by outsourced signature gatherers. 

Johnson, who has self-funded a significant portion of his campaign, unveiled a plan to change the petition process only hours before announcing the results of his own petitions.

Johnson’s consultant blamed the poll workers and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) in a statement.

Court Case

John Yob, an analyst for Johnson, stated, “The staff of the Democratic secretary of state does not have the authority to arbitrarily invalidate every signature acquired by the alleged forgers who damaged five campaigns.”

If Craig and Johnson are removed from the ticket, Dixon will likely emerge as the leading Republican candidate.

On Monday, the influential DeVos family, who are key donors in Michigan Republican circles, announced their support for Dixon for governor. 

The winner of the August 2 primary will immediately face Whitmer in one of the most high-profile showdowns in the country: a battle for control of a pivotal swing state.

The most recent survey of the contest, conducted in January by Michigan-based pollster EPIC-MRA, found Whitmer’s job approval rating to be below water, despite Whitmer’s hypothetical lead over Craig.

The survey did not compare Johnson or Dixon to the incumbent.