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Bill Package looks at election petitions and its review process

Posted at 11:29 PM, Jun 04, 2024
  • A bill package discussed in committee Tuesday wants to look at validating petition signatures in future elections.
  • The Board of State Canvassers met Friday and Monday to review nominating petitions and disqualified those that lacked a sufficient number.
  • Video shows what bills 5571 through 5576 aim to do for future elections.

For every election, petitions need signatures to make it on the ballot. A package of bills being discussed in committee on Tuesday wants to change the petition review process.
Last week, the board of state canvassers met multiple days to review nominating petitions for the August primary. In the many petitions they looked through, they found multiple cases of signature fraud.

When evaluating the petitions, the Board of Canvassers chair Mary Ellen Gurewitz said that she was "particularly concerned about circulator forgery so that I will think that is something we need to address."

This is not the first time a case of fraud has been seen during election season.

In the 2022 Gubernatorial election, five candidates were disqualified from the republican primary due to signature fraud leaving them with an insufficient amount of signatures.

Election committee head Representative Penelope Tsernoglou said the process used to settle the 2022 Gubernatorial election should be used in the future.

"The procedure utilized by the bureau was ultimately upheld by the Michigan Supreme Court and thus we would like to codify this process," Tsernoglou said.

This is where bills 5571 through 5576 come in.

Take a look at the proposed bill package for the petition requirements.

The bills will modify petition requirements by changing the filing deadline to 160 days before the election, giving the Board of State Canvassers explicit authority to use random sampling when looking at petitions, and changing petitions from being strictly compliant to substantially compliant.

At the committee meeting, members discussed how the petitions should be considered.

Legislative policy director Erin Schor explains that there is a difference between strict and substantial compliance.

"Substantial compliance requires an element of being able to determine whether something is not exact but still understandable to the voter," Schor said.

While Representative Jay DeBoyer questions its longevity. "And the worry that I would have is that if we are going to accept something as substantial compliance on this petition, have we set a precedent going forward that forever we will accept that?"

The Bureau of Elections said they do not believe that any candidate or campaign knew about the signature fraud.

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