Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidates submitted thousands of fraudulent signatures

Michigan signature fraud

The Michigan Bureau of Elections recommended disqualifying half of the Republican candidates for the gubernatorial nomination in Michigan after their campaigns filed thousands of fraudulent signatures. In total, the Bureau identified at least 68,000 invalid signatures submitted by 36 petition circulators.

The five candidates without enough valid signatures include the two leading candidates for the nomination—James Craig and Perry Johnson—as well as Michael Brown, Michael Markey Jr., and Donna Brandenburg.

Craig’s campaign submitted 11,113 invalid signatures and 10,192 “facially valid” signatures, far below the 15,000 threshold to be added to the ballot. Johnson’s campaign is 1,200 signatures short, with 13,800 “facially valid” signatures and 9,393 invalid signatures.

The other, lesser-known candidates submitted even more invalid signatures: 17,374 out of 21,804 signatures on Markey’s petitions, 13,809 out of 20,900 signatures on Brown’s petition, and 11,144 out of 17,778 signatures on Brandenburg’s petition were judged invalid.

“The Bureau is unaware of another election cycle in which this many circulators submitted such a substantial volume of fraudulent petition sheets consisting of invalid signatures, nor an instance in which it affected as many candidate petitions as at present,” the report says.

John Yob, a consultant for Johnson, said on Twitter that the campaign would take the case to court if necessary. “The staff of the Democrat Secretary of [State] does not have the right to unilaterally void every single signature obtained by the alleged forgers who victimized five campaigns,” Yob said. “We strongly believe they are refusing to count thousands of signatures from legitimate voters who signed the petitions and look forward to winning this fight before the Board, and if necessary, in the courts.”

The bipartisan Michigan Board of State Canvassers will vote tomorrow to determine which candidates will be officially disqualified.

Pennsylvania ballot scheme

Two Pennsylvania GOP staffers were fired after the Philadelphia City Commissioners Office uncovered a ballot harvesting scheme in the far south of the city.

Officials found that one out of every six Republican ballot requests in the 26th Ward were being delivered to a P.O. box owned by a Republican PAC called the Republican Registration Coalition. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the P.O. box was “the largest single destination for ballots in the city other than nursing homes or elections offices.”

Furthermore, many voters were not aware the PAC was receiving their mail ballots. Billy Lanzilotti, a 23-year-old GOP operative and chairman of the Republican Registration Coalition, claimed he was having voters’ ballots delivered to his P.O. box out of “convenience to the voter.” Only one of the voters whose ballots were collected by the Republican Registration Coalition had actually received their ballot.

The Inquirer spoke to 12 of the 39 voters whose applications requested their mail ballots be sent to Lanzilotti. Only two said they knowingly filled out a ballot application with the understanding it would be sent to him instead of their home address.

Five others were unaware their applications had requested their ballots be diverted to Lanzilotti’s P.O. box, at the post office at Broad Street and Castle Avenue.

And five more were adamant they hadn’t applied to vote by mail at all — or at least didn’t know that’s what they were doing when a man showed up at their doorstep to talk to them about the May 17 primary election.

27-year-old Shamus O’Donnell and 24-year-old C.J. Parker were subsequently fired by the Republican party for their involvement with Lanzilotti’s PAC. O’Donnell was a field organizer for the state GOP and Parker served as a personal aide to state party Chairman Lawrence Tabas.

The 26th Ward is older, whiter, and richer than Philly as a whole. It is also very Trumpy. From ballot harvesting in South Philly to voter fraud in The Villages and election fraud by former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, it appears that those who yell the loudest about the threat of a stolen election are the ones actually attempting to cheat to get ahead.

  • Note: While ballot harvesting—the third-party collection of mail-in ballots—is illegal in Pennsylvania, the practice itself is not indicative of voter fraud. Many states allow some form of ballot harvesting. For example, a relative may return their grandparent’s ballots in Ohio and anyone may return a person’s ballot in Hawaii. This is typically done after the voter has filled out their ballots, however; Lanzilotti failed to even deliver the ballots to the voters in the first place.