Michigan Gubernatorial Candidates Face Elimination After Signature Fraud Findings
Frontrunner in Michigan’s gubernatorial election may be kicked out of race for submitting fake nomination signatures
The Michigan Bureau of Elections has found that five candidates in the Republican primary for Governor, including frontrunner James Craig, did not file enough valid signatures in order to qualify for the upcoming primary on August 2nd.
The bureau found over half of Craig’s signatures to be fraudulent, claiming a team of 18 paid circulators worked together to fill out 9,879 petitions. Members of this same group also created 6,983 petitions for Johnson.
Over 42,000 signatures for Brandenburg, Brown, and Markey were also invalidated during the review.
The Bureau recommends eliminating candidates James Craig, Perry Johnson, Donna Brandenburg, Michael Brown and Michael Markey for failing to submit the required 15,000 valid signatures.
On Thursday, the bipartisan Board of State Canvassers are meeting to discuss the findings and potentially eliminate these candidates from the race.
James Craig, Republican frontrunner in Michigan's gubernatorial race, at a recent event.
The Bureau of Elections also stated it is working on referring the fraud to law enforcement for a criminal investigation, but staff said, “at this point, the Bureau does not have reason to believe that any specific candidates or campaigns were aware of the activities of fraudulent-petition circulators.”
The Bureau additionally recommends that “candidates and campaigns implement a quality control process before filing petitions, and to cross out any invalid signatures proper to submission.”
Multiple irregularities alerted staff to the possibility of fraud. They found an abnormal amount of signature sheets completely filled out and without any signs of the wear-and-tear of canvassing. There were also high amounts of signatures of dead voters, invalid addresses, and incorrectly spelled names.
Both Democrats and Republicans are angry about the fake signatures.