The Michigan Board of Canvassers deadlocked 2-2 Thursday on certifying petitions from Unlock Michigan that would force a vote on repealing a 1945 law used by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to lock down the state.
Two Democrats refused to certify the petitions, despite them being approved by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a fellow Democrat. Benson’s office determined Unlock Michigan had submitted 100,000 more signatures than necessary.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel concluded her investigation into an Unlock Michigan training session without charges. Two Democrat operatives secretly recorded an alleged trainer offering activists questionable advice.
Nessel found no evidence Unlock Michigan leaders encouraged or tolerated any misconduct by petition circulators.
“I’m concerned about the validity of some of these signatures,” Democrat canvasser Julie Matuzak said, according to Mlive.
“Not the questions of how they were registered, not if their signatures match, but rather how these signatures were gathered, and it behooves us to actually exercise our power to look at that.”
Matuzak made a motion for another investigation, which also failed 2-2.
Democrat member Jeannette Bradshaw said it was the board’s duty to ensure Unlock Michigan “followed the rules.”
“We shouldn’t delay just because we disagree with the content,” Republican Tony Daunt said. “The (Secretary of State’s) staff report was very clear. It shows ample signatures have met the qualifications and that it’s recommended for passage.”
“This was very grassroots-driven, and I think it will be a huge disappointment to the people of Michigan especially given everything that’s gone on,” Amanda Fisher, assistant director at the National Federation of Independent Businesses, told WLNS.
Unlock Michigan spokesman Fred Wszolek said his group may go to court to have the petitions certified, according to The Alpena News.
There is no doubt that Unlock MI submitted sufficient signatures to require certification. There is no doubt what the Board’s clear legal duty was. Do we need to seek sanctions and court costs against individual canvassers to get them to start doing their legal duty?
— Fred Wszolek (@FredWszolek) April 22, 2021
“Predictable partisanship from two members — in clear violation of the law and every court precedent — disenfranchises more than 540,000 voters who want their voice heard,” Wszolek wrote.
“Once again the Michigan Supreme Court will have to smack down these board members who refused to do their jobs,” he said.
“Do we need to seek sanctions and court costs against individual canvassers to get them to start doing their legal duty?” Wszolek wrote.