Tens of thousands of fake or potentially otherwise invalid signatures have apparently been discovered among those submitted in association with Republican contenders for Michigan’s governorship getting on the ballot in the state. The development means five Republican candidates for governor in Michigan could soon be disqualified.
Affected Republican candidates include James Craig, Perry Johnson, Michael Brown, Michael Markey, and Donna Brandenburg. Two of those — Craig and Johnson — are apparently particularly prominent in the race. Should these contenders be excluded from the ballot — an issue the Michigan Board of State Canvassers is set to deliberate over on Thursday — then a Trump-touted candidate could see her odds rise. Tudor Dixon, who Trump referred to as “fantastic” when rallying supporters in Michigan last month, has expressed support for the conspiracy theory that Biden wasn’t the rightful winner of the 2020 presidential election, meaning that her hypothetical ascent to the front of the candidate pack could once again put an election denier at the helm of a GOP push for governor. Trump is supporting Republicans for governor in at least Georgia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania who also push election-related conspiracy theories.
Forgery ring: "In total, the )Michigan Bureau of Elections) estimates that these circulators submitted at least 68,000 invalid signatures submitted across 10 sets of nominating petitions."
— Jonathan Oosting (@jonathanoosting) May 24, 2022
The state board dealing with the signature issues in Michigan is scheduled to vote this Thursday on the question of who will get on the ballot for the August 2 primaries, so a tentative final answer will seemingly emerge soon — although a Johnson consultant already indicated a willingness to take the fight to court. “We strongly believe they are refusing to count thousands of signatures from legitimate voters who signed the petitions and look forward to winning this fight before the Board, and if necessary, in the courts,” John Yob said. The Michigan Bureau of Elections hasn’t implicated campaigns in the fake signatures — instead, operatives tasked with collecting signatures were said to be at fault. But, the bureau said they didn’t individually examine each and every petition sheet. “Rather, they isolated those sheets submitted by petition circulators whose work they determined was fraudulent, and conducted “a targeted signature check” to confirm that the circulators’ submissions were in fact full of fraudulent entries,” Talking Points Memo explains.
The state elections bureau determines mass fraud was perpetrated by 18 people who were paid to collect signatures for Craig. Almost 10,000 of his 21,000 were forged.
— David Eggert (@DavidEggert00) May 24, 2022
So, a conclusion from the bureau that those responsible for the fake signatures turned in at least 68,000 invalid signatures for the nominating petitions of 10 candidates appears to be an estimate. The five gubernatorial candidates who might be disqualified by the state canvassers board originally submitted enough signatures to get on the ballot before the discoveries of fake signatures brought their totals below the required levels according to conclusions so far. Apparently among signatures for Craig’s campaign, the Bureau of Elections said they found “consistent handwriting for the entirety of a petition sheet, including signatures.” Craig’s team has also indicated an unsurprising interest in not just letting the issue go: the “allegation that a handful of circulators defrauded the Craig campaign and Michigan voters is troubling, (but) the proof will ultimately be found in a careful comparison between petition and qualified voter file (or master card) signatures,” attorney Edward Greim, who’s representing the Craig campaign, recently told a Michigan news outlet. Read more at this link.
A MASSIVE signature forgery scandal just broke in Michigan. Investigators think "at least" 68,000 signatures across 10 candidates' petitions are invalid. Signature gatherers worked for multiple campaigns. 5 GOP governor hopefuls may be disqualified, including 2 leading candidates https://t.co/GVk0iKuLsE
— Matt Shuham (@mattshuham) May 24, 2022