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Multiple challenges filed to GOP candidates' petitions for governor

Posted at 5:38 PM, Apr 29, 2022

LANSING, Mich. — There are multiple challenges against the signatures GOP candidates running for governor collected to get on the August primary ballot.

Lawyers for the Michigan Democratic Party called the petitions "a massive forgery."

“There's a group of eight circulators with very strong evidence that indicates they may have forged as many as 7,000 signatures. And our 200-page complaint lays out the evidence of that," said attorney Mark Brewer, the former Michigan Democratic Party chairman who is challenging signatures for former Detroit Police Chief James Craig

Brewer alleges that petitioners for Craig used a practice called “round robining," a technique where circulators each sign one name per petition sheet and pass the sheets around. Another form of possible fraud, Brewer noted, was signatures of people who could not have possibly signed.

“There are dozens of signatures from dead people. The only way a signature of a dead person gets on a petition is if somebody forges it. So we believe we have overwhelming proof of forgery," he said.

Craig’s signatures have also been challenged by rival candidate Tudor Dixon. In addition to the two challenges against Craig, the Michigan Democratic Party has also filed challenges to the signatures gathered for Dixon herself and candidate Perry Johnson.

“The challenges to Perry Johnson— first, we were able to document 66 individuals who we believe were actually dead at the time the petitions were circulated," said Steven Liedel, an attorney Michigan Democratic Party.

Liedel outlined a number of other issues with Johnson’s signatures like duplicates, round robin-ing and noncompliance errors.

“By every indication, there are likely potentially sufficient invalid signatures to put Mr. Johnson in a situation where he does not qualify for the ballot," he said.

The problems Liedel found in Dixon’s petition come down to a seemingly small error: Her petitions list her term ending in 2026, but, under Michigan law, governor’s terms end on Jan. 1 of the year after the election, in this case 2027. That could be enough to disqualify all of her signatures.

"This is the largest gubernatorial field in recent years. So there are a lot of very large primaries and there was a corresponding number of large number of challenges. So this is a bit of a unique situation and a unique year," said Tracy Wimmer, the director of media relations for the Michigan Secretary of State.

The Board of State Canvassers will need to finish its investigation into the petitions by May 31.

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