Michigan Republicans have been on a mission to prevent voter fraud. Meanwhile, at least two high ranking Republican officials have been implicated in election fraud. Michigan’s 11th Congressional Representative, and one time potential Presidential candidate, Republican Thaddeus McCotter submitted only 244 valid signatures to get his name on the ballot for reelection. Apparently, the other 1,200 or so signatures he submitted were fakes. McCotter has since resigned from office forcing a special election to fill the remaining two months of his term. The special election will cost Michigan taxpayers as much as $650,000. On the heels of that controversy, State House Speaker Jase Bolger and Representative Roy Schmidt were implicated in a scheme to get a fake Democrat to run in the 76th House district. The scheme worked like this: Schmidt switched from being a Democrat to a Republican at the last minute and he and Bulger attempted to pay a naive young man to put his name on the ballot as a Democrat. This scheme would have made it almost impossible for a legitimate Democrat to beat Schmidt as a write in candidate. How can someone run as a “fake candidate” in Michigan you ask? The answer is that in Michigan you can run for State Representative by paying a $100.00 filing fee instead of gathering 200 valid signatures. You can run for State Senator by paying a $100.00 filing fee instead of gathering 500 valid signatures. However, if you are an independent candidate you cannot buy your way onto the ballot. The signatures, and the process of validating them, is what stopped McCotter from pulling off election fraud. The filing fee is what allowed Bolger and Schmidt to nearly succeed in their version of election fraud. It is time to eliminate the filing fee, and force candidates to collect signatures, to help prevent future election fraud. Republicans can go a long way toward improving their image, and our state’s F grade on governmental inegrity, by passing this reform along with financial disclosure laws for our elected officials. They have passed 603 laws in the past 18 months. Why not two more?
Note: The Democratic party in Michigan does not provide support for candidates in the primary if they are being challenged by a Democratic candidate. This is another reason that Republicans may have run fake candidates in the past.