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  The request was retracted midway through the day, leading to further confusion at the polls.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