A leading Republican gubernatorial contender in Michigan has been removed from the ballot by a state appeals court, which means his name is unlikely to appear on the state’s GOP primary in August.
As reported by The Associated Press , the Michigan Court of Appeals actually kept two GOP contenders off the ballot after ruling that state election officials who suspected signature fraud did not have any obligation to examine campaign petitions line by line.
The report noted:
The court first ruled against Perry Johnson, a wealthy businessman considered to be a leading candidate for the Republican nomination, and then applied the 12-page decision to investment adviser Michael Markey.
The opinion would seem to doom the chances of former Detroit Police Chief James Craig and entrepreneur Donna Brandenburg, who were also barred from the ballot last week.
There appears to be no dispute that fraudulent signatures were turned in by paid circulators, though there’s no evidence that the candidates were aware of the scam. In a court filing, attorneys representing the Board of State Canvassers called it an “unprecedented situation.”
The board actually tied on the question of whether the candidates were ineligible, meaning there was no definitive decision to reinstate them. State election officials said that Johnson, Craig, Markey, and Brandenburg failed to meet the 15,000-vote signature threshold because there were too many fraudulent signatures.
In the case of Johnson, some 7,000 signatures were moved to the scam column after election staff discovered dead voters on petitions along with misspelled names and some signatures with first names only accompanied by the last initial.On appeal, Johnson asked the higher court to overrule the canvassers and place his name on the ballot. He argued through attorneys that he would meet the signature threshold if the state election bureau would examine each […]
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