Voter Fraud in Michigan – State and Federal Examples

Perhaps, like me, you have been disturbed by the recent disclosures about voter fraud in Michigan.  The following are a few notable examples:

  • Citizenship question requirement for primary voters.
  • 70 communities where city and township clerks missed state and federal guidelines for providing absentee ballots to military and oversees voters for the August primary election.
  • House Speaker Jase Bolger and State Representative Roy Schmidt conspired to deceive the voters of the 78th House District by paying a “fake” candidate to run against Schmidt, with the intention of throwing the election to Schmidt.  Why engage in so much subterfuge?  If no one was running against Schmidt, he would not be able to raise campaign funds.
  • Former U.S. Representative Thaddeus McCotter has been exposed as a fraud because he did not have enough genuine, verifiable signatures to qualify him to run in the 2012 campaign. Further, it has been revealed that he did not have sufficient signatures in the races where he was declared the winner in 2008 and 2010.  How is this kind of duplicity even possible?

Voter fraud has been touted as a big concern for Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson.  It prompted her to introduce a package of voter “reform” bills in the Michigan legislature that were colloquially referred to as “voter suppression bills.”  Governor Snyder vetoed the three bills seen as most restrictive and offensive to groups such as the League of Women Voter of Michigan, the ACLU of Michigan and AAUW of Michigan, among others.

Strangely, on Michigan Primary election day, August 7, 2012, voters were required to answer a question about whether or not they were U.S. citizens.  The request was retracted midway through the day, leading to further confusion at the polls.  This situation happened after Governor Snyder vetoed a law requiring voters to answer the citizenship question because it would cause confusion at the polls and make it harder, not easier, for citizens to vote.

The most difficult past of this scenario for me to understand is Secretary of State Johnson’s refusal to acknowledge that an error was made, or that her actions were ill conceived.  She has said she will again insist on the citizenship question in November.  Again, how is this disregard of the law possible?

There may be a reasonable explanation why Secretary of State Johnson is attuned to the threat of voter fraud.  In each of the cases mentioned above, members of her political party were the perpetrators of the fraud, leading citizens to wonder what goes on behind closed doors when party leaders gather.  It almost seems as though they are trying to outdo each other with their legal chicanery. So far, none of the lawmakers has been brought up on criminal charges. Quoting Mr. Bolger, Johnson said, “  …not breaking the law is not a high enough standard.”  On that statement, we can all agree.

What are the lessons to be learned from these instances of lack of integrity on the part of elected officials of government? It is incumbent upon each citizen of the state of Michigan to be vigilant and vocal about the misuse of the public trust.  Attention must be paid if improvements are to be made.

Barbara Bonsignore

AAUW of Michigan Public Policy Director

August 19, 2012

Posted under AAUW of Michigan, Social Justice, Voter Education

1 Comment so far

  1. janetw August 22, 2012 9:43 pm

    If I may, I think there is a little clarification needed for one of Barbara’s points in her most recent blog entry on voter fraud: The citizenship question on the voter application was not new for the August primary election. It has been a part of the application filled out by each voter for the past several elections. Asking the question serves a dual purpose–affirmation that the voter is a citizen and ascertaining that voters know how to correctly mark their ballots by completing the arrow instead of circling the answer, which the tabulators used now would reject. The latter could certainly be observed by answering a different question. In most Michigan precincts now a swipe of the driver’s license brings up a voter’s registration from the state database, the fact that the voter is present and voting can be noted with a click on the computer screen and a notation made in the electronic pollbook of the ballot issued all in one operation. It speeds up the operation considerably. A person’s name can always be entered manually, if necessary.

    Jane Wirth, co-President, Midland Branch
    Election Inspector, City of Midland

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