2 Michigan Republican candidates for Governor rejected from ballot appealing in ‘rocket docket’

(WILX)
Published: May. 29, 2022 at 5:27 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Two of the leading candidates for the Republican nomination for Michigan governor said they will ask the courts to intervene after they were found ineligible for the August primary.

The State Elections Bureau announced on May 23 it had found thousands of fraudulent signatures on petitions submitted by several GOP campaigns. The Board of State Canvassers voted Thursday to reject those signatures, bringing five of the gubernatorial candidates below the 15,000 signatures needed to run in the primary that will determine who takes on Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this fall.

Two of five candidates rejected were considered the leading candidates of the primary, former Detroit Police Chief James Craig and businessman Perry Johnson.

Background: Michigan’s State Board of Canvassers disqualify several GOP candidates from ballot

Craig said Thursday’s party-line decision by the bipartisan Board of State Canvassers a “travesty” and said he will file an immediate appeal in court.

“The Board of Elections chose to withhold the suspicion of fraud from the campaign’s until two days before their public hearing,” Craig said in a release. “In fact, the Board of Elections released their reports to the media before the campaigns; with many campaigns learning about the fraud from social media before being duly notified.”

The Michigan Democratic Party said they believe the responsibility for collecting valid signatures is the candidate’s alone.

“Candidates have clearly demonstrated an unwillingness to accept any responsibility for their lawless campaigns,” MIDems wrote of the decision on their website. “Excuses abound in the wake of the mass and blatant fraudulent activity amounting to what could be the biggest ballot shakeup in Michigan political history.”

Johnson did file an appeal on Friday. Since there are only days until the ballot must be finalized, the appeals court has put the case on a ‘rocket docket,’ with Tuesday as the deadline for the state’s answer to the lawsuit.

The Michigan Supreme Court has a system for processing appeals from orders granting or denying motions for summary disposition, called “rocket docket” appeals. These create strict time constraints governing associated appeals and resulting cross-appeals. The purpose is to significantly reduce appellate delays at the Michigan Court of Appeals for cases in which time is a major consideration, such as with the ballot signatures.

A decision is likely to follow soon after.

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