BREAKING: Mich Board of State Canvassers votes that Emergency Mgr law petitions are NOT valid – UPDATED x2

Democracy not upheld

[NOTE: This post has been updated HERE.]

After hearing testimony from both sides, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers voted by a vote of 2 to 2 NOT to validate the petitions to repeal Public Act 4 — Michigan’s Emergency Manager law. By doing so they threw out the signatures of nearly a quarter million Michigan citizens.

The vote was followed by chants of “SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!”

UPDATE: This is the panel that made the decision. Jeffrey Timmer, the Republican with Sterling Corp is on the left facing the room. His Republican colleague Norman Shinkle is on his left.

When Stand Up for Democracy members including Brandon Jessup have testimony, they “stood up” and asked the crowd to do the same. They did:

The vote was to certify the petitions, not, as I mistakenly thought, to rule on the challenge. Therefore, they needed three votes. Both Republicans voted no, despite compelling testimony regarding “substantial compliance” precedent and detailed information about font size from printing experts.

After the vote, the room erupted. I apologize for the blurriness of this photo but it was pandemonium.

Attorneys for Stand Up for Democracy say they will file an appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals “soon”.

This is a clear attempt to force repeal proponents to spend their money in court rather than on getting the referendum passed in November.

This is democracy subverted.

UPDATE: 2 Now that I’m not working from my iPhone, here are some further comments.

John Courage attorney for Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility testified that the previous court cases involving “substantial compliance” should be ignored and that the word “shall” in the petition rules should override precedent on this matter. He repeatedly pointed to the fact that Stand Up for Democracy did not get prior approval, giving coverage to the two Republicans on the Board.

Stand Up for Democracy attorney Herb Sanders brought the printer from Inland Press, Bruce Hack, along with another font expert, Michael Migran (sp?), to testify about much of the same things I’ve been writing about with regard to difference in appearance of fonts of the same size and the fact that the law does not specify type size. Hack said the font is Calibri and again stood by his Printers Affidavit swearing that the font is correct.

Sanders called the challenge by Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility “disingenuous and borderline perjury”. He finished by saying, “If we are wrong then democracy is wrong!”

After their testimony, a number of repeal supporters gave impassioned testimony about upholding democracy and not allowing the voice of the people to be thrown aside based on a concocted technicality. The final speaker, Eric Mays, told the panel that he had signed a petition and, “I need you to know that I KNEW what I was signing!”

James Waters, one of the Democrats on the panel, moved to certify the petitions. He was seconded by Julie Matuzak, the other Democrat. However, Norman Shinkle and Jeffery Timmer pointed to a single other time when font size was used to disqualify a petition. This was a case when Democrats tried to create a new political party called “The Tea Party”. On their petitions, the word “the” was only in 8-point font rather than the required 24-point. Previous testimony and staff comments brought up the point that the creation of new political parties is covered under a different part of the state constitution. This is, however, what they hung their hat on. Ignoring the fact that the petition printer who had given testimony and submitted a sworn affidavit declaring the font was correct, they voted “no”. Since, as I’ve said, three votes were needed to certify the petitions, they deadlocked and the petitions were not certified.

There have been suggestions that Matuzak has a conflict of interest on this issue since she works for the American Federation of Teachers, members of which circulated petitions. However, unlike her Republican counterpart Jeffrey Timmer who works for the company fighting the repeal, Matuzak does not work either for Michigan Forward or for Stand Up for Democracy. This is not the case with Timmer who clearly DOES have a conflict of interest. It’s one thing to be in support of an issue. It’s entirely another to have a financial interest in it as Timmer clearly does.

At the end of the day, the voices of a quarter million Michiganders was thrown out the window based on a fabricated issue. With a sworn statement and direct testimony of the printer of the petitions in front of them proving the font size was accurate, the two Republicans voted “no” as a purely political act. It is the first time the Board of State Canvassers hasn’t voted unanimously on something only three times since 2006.

There is simply no other way to characterize it.

  • CB_Demented

    They probably saved it in the wrong file format and printed them out on the wrong color paper /nod

  • alexjon

    I bet the GOP members thought “that’ll show them” without realizing the mistake they were making.

  • ArrogantDemon

    I guess this now confirms Michigan just said fuck democracy. The fascist state of Michigan is now in effect, you have our sympathies

    • saynotohate

      Not Michigan. Just two crooked republicans.

  • saynotohate

    The board is made up of two republicans and two democrats. Guessing that they each voted the way you might expect, which was enough to stop the recall from going on the ballot.I did read that this is going to be taken further by the attorneys for the group.

  • Greendem

    Must EVERYTHING need to be settled by the courts? *sigh*

  • http://mywikibiz.com/Directory:Jon_Awbrey Jon Awbrey

    Go ahead, Punks, make our May Day …

  • Lorrielauterberg

    RECALL SNYDER! Petitions due out next week! Rally in Lansing for the kickoff May 5th. Please see http://www.michiganrising.org for details, or see Michigan rising on Facebook also.

    • Phil Perspective

       Will the state Democratic Party get behind the recall this time?

      • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

        No.

        • Phil Perspective

           Why not?  They still haven’t been able to buy a clue, huh?

          • http://profiles.google.com/scott.urbanowski Scott Urbanowski

            Why should they? They have other things to concentrate on. Like the State House, the Supreme Court, and ballot initiatives. Why focus on a recall that would only make another Republican (Calley) governor?

          • Phil Perspective

            Why wouldn’t you?  You don’t think it would cause people to sit up and take notice if you deposed Snyder, regardless of whether the Lieutenant Governor would replace Snyder?  Also, can’t you recall the LT. Governor at the same time as well?  And if you recalled Snyder, would Calley really keep going with the Emergency Manager thing?  But hey, let Snyder continuing destroying Michigan, whatever floats your boat.

          • Guest

            Exactly the problem with Brewer’s Democrats.

    • Sharayahaguy

       make sure the fonts correct…. i can’t believe i just sad that seriously….

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carrie-Vnct/100000317344649 Carrie Vnct

     From wisconsin to our neighbors in michigan,,,DONT GIVE UP, KEEP FIGHTING AND VOTE REPUB TPARTIES HATERS OUT

  • http://ramonasvoices.blogspot.com/ Ramona

     Ridiculous, but not unexpected. How does a board made up of two Democrats and two Republicans ever agree on anything? Bad enough that there are four instead of five board members, where there might actually be a chance for a tie-breaker.  (Of course, the fifth member would have to be an Independent in order to be fair.)

    So what now?  How long will they be able to delay the appeals?  I predict no earlier than November 7. 

    Yet again they’ve won before the battle even begins.

    • Robert Kezelis

      but they may lose the war. People will only take so much before they get off their sofas. 

    • saynotohate

      No they have not and will not win. We will rally together, and we will not give up our state.

  • http://mywikibiz.com/Directory:Jon_Awbrey Jon Awbrey

    Remember, Remember, the Font in November …

  • Jthaden

    What a sad commentary on the state of politics in Michigan.  

    Our Wisconsin friend is right. We need to Occupy the Ballot Box.  We must work hard to sweep out of office these people who subvert the public’s will to have the right to vote on the PA 4.

  • Solitairedog

    The people of Michigan are learning some valuable lessons this season, one of which is to not vote for Republicans!

  • Brit Satchwell

    The legal testimony FOR the petitions and AGAINST the “font size” challenge was compelling.  Both Republicant’s ignored expert testimony as to the font size.  We need to take the 26th star (MI) off of our nation’s flag, and the remaining 49 states should fly it at half mast.  As Shinkle slithered out, I told him that I was embarrassed on his behalf as he did not seem capable of doing that for himself.  AND I asked him to take his American flag pin off of his lapel out of respect for the rule of law and what vestiges are left of democratic principles in America (49 states).  A sad day, folks, a sad day.  So, on to the courts…. (sigh)

    • saynotohate

      Yes, ON TO THE COURTS, with more backers than before, and more and more conviction that we cannot allow these guys to run Michigan any longer.

  • http://mywikibiz.com/Directory:Jon_Awbrey Jon Awbrey

    Sorry, Mr. Hancock, your signature is too darn small …

    You’ll have to make it bigger next time …

    • http://twitter.com/xenubarb xenubarb

       Best.
      Comment.
      EVER!

      Thanks for the laugh!

  • Unadog

    Take a look at 14 Point in Adobe Arabic! Really, really small compared to Arial, etc.

    I also like the fact that the Pub’s have to complain that the petition is in an Arabic font!

    While you are at it, try every installed font while you are at it. I have at least 250 True-Type fonts on my non-graphics laptop. I’m sure I have thousands in my Adobe CS 5.5 Design Software.

    So these guys are Graphic Design experts now ….

  • http://facebook.com/mariahschafsnitz Tyyygarr

    This is depressing…

    & this is also the reason that we need to vote against every Republican on that ballot this November.

  • Unadog

    Look at the variance in “14 point font sizes” on the page. These are all 14 point.

    There is absolutely no way to look at a font and say “That is not 14 point.”

    That is a mm and inch rule next to those 3 fonts – 3 out of literraly 1,000’s of fonts that I have in Adobe CS 5.5. Seems to me that if it is bigger than ANY 14 pt font you can’t say it **isn’t** 14 point. 

    The Republican Colorado Secretary of State delayed the signature count in the 1990’s and refused to put Medical Marijuana on the ballot. Purely partisan.  Idiots!

  • Eskymo

    Its sad to see that Michigan, a place I knew as a child to be among the most progressive of states, has sunk to the point where democracy and the will of hundreds of thousands of people can be subverted by TWO people. The conflicts of interest on their part are MINDBLOWING. If the Democratic Party and Democrats, independents and Republicans that believe in democracy do not erupt in protest to fight for what is right, then I’m sad to say that the Michigan that I knew and loved is gone forever. What is it going to take? 

    • Tonidini

      Oh, the whole room erupted, believe me!!!   

      • Guest

        Great!  Too bad TV 9 and 10 won’t be showing it to create awareness (news.)

  • http://twitter.com/dennis_jernberg Dennis Jernberg

    Once again, in yet another state, antidemocratic Republicans are giving the voters yet another reason to kick the party out. Wisconsin, Ohio, now Michigan. The voters being disenfranchised by the Gang Of Plunderers will have their revenge.

  • Ordinarynetizen

    Typical hijacking of democracy by the usual suspects!

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  • Guest

    The plunderers are doing an end run around legitimate bankruptcy procedure.. Snyder R’s want the assets of Michigan.  This should be challenged by the Feds for what it is.  

  • jvaljon1

    Actually they want people NOT TO VOTE.  I believe I read somewhere that in a municipality under Emergency Management, the vote is “suspended due to civil unrest possibility until the Emergency is over”.  I HOPE I’m mistaken.  Anyone?

  • Tcyahtzee

    Recommend we fill up the two State Canvasser Board member’s email boxes (USING LARGE FONT UPPERCASE), and/or call their businesses, to express our displeasure in their actions:

    Norm Shinkle
    shinkle@cablespeed.com
    (517) 655-5992 
    Jeff Timmerjtimmer@sterlingcorporation.com(517) 267-9012

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