Emergency Manager Law — April 27, 2012 at 6:56 am

UPDATED: Denying a quarter million Michiganders a political voice was NEVER about the fonts


If you think elections just don’t matter, this should wake you up

Yesterday, two Republican men denied a quarter million Michiganders their political voice, a voice guaranteed by the constitution of the state and firmly-rooted in the basic tenets of our democracy.

Two men.

It’s astonishing that our system is set up to give two men this much power.

The excuse that both men gave was that, because the the heading on the petition was too small, the petitions were invalid.

But this was not and never should have been about the fonts.

During the hearing yesterday, the Board of State Canvassers heard from font experts about how you cannot measure the capital letter “N” in order to determine font size (as their opponents “experts” did.) They heard about how the law doesn’t govern which font to use and how different fonts are differently sized for a given point size. They heard about “leading” and about how to fonts are actually measured.

But none of that was important. In fact, none of what I have written here at Eclectablog about comparing fonts has been important.

After all of the testimony that the Board heard yesterday, only one person’s testimony mattered. That was the testimony of Bruce Hack of Inland Printing. Bruce Hack is the man that printed the petitions. He has signed a sworn affidavit saying that the font was 14 point and gave testimony yesterday confirming this. He even brought them screenshots to prove his veracity.

In other words, the petitions WERE PRINTED IN THE CORRECT FONT. This really wasn’t a matter for discussion. The fonts were correct. They have the Printers Affidavit and his testimony to prove it.

And, yet, because friends of the two Republicans on the Board — a coworker for one of them! — raised the question, it gave them what they seemed to feel was room to vote “no”.

But remember this: their votes were based on a completely fabricated lie.

Much of the testimony that was given yesterday was about people engaging in the democratic process and having a political voice as granted them by the state constitution. They talked about how hard they had worked to exercise that right. They talked about a quarter million voices that deserved to be heard.

And in the end, all of that was wasted breath as two men, in collusion with people with a vested financial interest in the outcome, swept it all aside based upon a lie.

The election in Michigan in November is — without any question or hyperbole — the most important election in my lifetime. What we saw in Room 102 of the Lansing Center yesterday is the direct result of one party have every bit of power in our government. If we do not wrest at least some of the control of our government back from the Republicans, the system of checks and balances will remain in tatters on the side of the road as they steamroll their agenda over our state.

Michigan Democrats must become energized to get Democrats elected to the state House and Senate this year. What happened yesterday was a clarion call. We do not have the luxury of being complacent or of wasting the summer and early fall ahead. Now is the time for action.

UPDATE: Just to show you how wrong some of the paid media types are on this, I offer up an example. Yesterday on Michigan Radio, Michigan Information Research (MIRS) journalist Susan Demas said this about the failure of the Stand Up for Democracy group to get their petitions pre-approved:

“You know, we do have rules in place for a reason and, ya know, I guess I think back to what I tell my nine-year old, uh, which is, “You know, if you’re not following the directions, you’re going to get going to get the assignment wrong. So you might want to take care of business first.”

(Audio is HERE)

Here’s what’s wrong with that: First, getting petitions pre-approved is not a “rule”. It’s an OPTION. Second, and much more importantly, THEY DID FOLLOW THE RULES. The font size WAS correct and they have proof of it. The rules were ignored by the two Republicans on the Board. THAT is the story here and THAT is the story that our mainstream media outlets are missing.

Here’s the response to yesterday’s charade from the Stand Up for Democracy coalition:

Stand Up for Democracy statewide coalition proves petition meets state law requirements as Republican operative’s phantom experts fail to show at hearing. “The masterminds of this scheme will be held accountable in the court of law for their shenanigans,” says lawyer.

Detroit – Citizens from around the state of Michigan continue to express outrage in the wake of a decision by Republican appointees at the State Board of Canvassers meeting rejecting expert testimony, physical evidence and scientific evaluation showing a petition to repeal the emergency manager law was in compliance with the legal font-size as required by law.

“This partisan attack on democracy will not stand,” said Herb Sanders, director of the coalition. “People are outraged at the bold faced hypocrisy displayed by Republican members of the State Board of Canvassers who rejected expert testimony, physical evidence and scientific measuring means presented to them in favor of affidavits signed by other alleged printing experts that didn’t even bother to show up to the hearing.”

The fact that no experts testified to the legitimacy of claims made that the font size was incorrect calls into question whether the affidavits are little more than pieces of paper signed by “ghost” printers.

“No one would be surprised to find that in politics some people are just dirty, lying cheats who will stop at nothing to get their way,” said Sanders. “One thing is for sure, they will show up in court or the masterminds of this scheme will be held accountable in the court of law for their shenanigans.”

The partisan attack came on the heels of news that the Stand Up for Democracy Coalition had officially received notice reporting the group had collected 203,238 valid voter signatures needed to place the repeal of Public Act 4 (aka the Emergency Manager Law) on the November 2012 general election ballot. The group exceeded the 161,305 valid signatures needed by more than 40,000.

On Thursday, April 26, 2012 the members of the State Board of Canvassers met in Lansing to decide if the petition would be placed on the November general election ballot. They also reviewed a memo from the Secretary of the Board of State Canvassers that largely dismissed the challenges of a Republican group seeking to prevent voters from deciding the fate of PA 4.

At the hearing, the font size on the petition was determined to be correct after physical evidence and expert testimony was presented to the board and several hundred citizens in the audience. Still, two Republican appointees to the board ignored the evidence before them and voted not to place the issue on the ballot to the outrage and disbelief of other Republican, Democratic and independent voters attending the hearing. The matter heads to the Michigan State Court of Appeals next week.

For more information go to www.standup4democracy.com or call 1-866-306-5168 to volunteer.

[CC image credit: Blood for Oil]

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  • What do the “War on Women”, the “War on Students”, and the other various far-right “War on”s have in common?  They’re a “War on Facts”. Pure and simple.

  • Remember, Remember, the Font in November …

  • Ashlee Lori Spill

    I don’t think it is as simple as Republican and Democrat….In all honesty the Democrats have gotten just as bad as the Right…wolves in sheep’s clothing… Love your stuff!!! Thank you so much for the in depth coverage on PA-4 and beyond. You really do a wonderfully objective job which is beyond refreshing in times like these! 

    •  Rubbish, Ashlee. Democrats didn’t pass the Emergency Dictator Manager law. Democrats don’t force through immediate effect provisions without counting the votes in blatant violation of the constitution. And on and on.

      The parties are NOT both the same. To say so is ignorant and insulting to our intelligence.

    • DownriverDem

      Spare us please.  The tit for tat game you are playing is nuts.  The repubs want to destroy all I hold dear and you say the left is just as bad?   Get real.  Go do some research and get back to us.

      • Guest

        Get real, indeed, Downriver.  Take off your DNC blinders.  

        • DownriverDem

          You get real. Take off your RNC hate blinders.

           Every thing I hold dear is being destroyed by your beloved repub bastards.  Are you rich?   Come on help us out here.

          • Wandergirl881

            Robert Draper has a new book coming out, which shines a light on a private meeting “top Republican lawmakers and strategists” held, literally the same day as Obama’s inauguration.
            According to Draper, the guest list that night (which was just over
            15 people in total) included Republican Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin
            McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb
            Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.),
            along with Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom
            Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). […]
            [T]he book says they plotted out ways to not just win back political
            power, but to also put the brakes on Obama’s legislative platform. “If
            you act like you’re the minority, you’re going to stay in the minority,”
            Draper quotes McCarthy as saying. “We’ve gotta challenge them on every
            single bill and challenge them on every single campaign.”

            Together, they sketched out a plan over the course of
            four hours: attack Tim Geithner, show “unyielding opposition” to every
            economic proposal, launch early attack ads targeting vulnerable
            Democrats. The GOP leaders left their meeting “almost giddily.” -thanks to Steve BenenRecord-setting cloture motions, too. Equivalency is a nice thought, it just isn’t accurate.

          • Tjskodak

            And this is exactly what they are doing and not only that they are now using Super Pacs to send out lies about the good guys.  What you are seeing is the corporate take over of America, plain and simple.  The problem that I see, is most people have seen so much corruption in government, now they don’t want to get involved and this is the time that we need them all involved..  Hopefully we can get enough people involved to turn back the on-slot of the corporations.

  • Greendem

    GOTV !!!

  • BritSatchwell

    To hear about how facts are ignored in policy decisions is one thing.  To actually witness it in person truly takes one’s breathe away… I felt like I was being mugged.  Maddow’s coverage last night did not make sufficient (any!) mention of how the “font” red herring was debunked by expert testimony.  I hope your coverage will let her to pick up that important piece.  Your headline says it all… it never was about the fonts.  Fonts were the smokescreen, a laughably transparent smokescreen right from the get go.  I feel like they think we are children who will fall for “Hey, look over there!” as they swipe the last cookie (or our rights as citizens in what WAS a democracy).

  • Constant Comment

    Kind of makes you yearn for the days when actions like this could get you tarred and feathered for pulling this kind of outrageous crap. Ok, I don’t REALLY yearn for those days, but it’s truly enraging.
    People need to keep working against defunding ALEC…the charming group that has recently been successful–thanks to tea party governors and state GOP majorities–in putting women, gays and minorities in their place, and taking away power from employees and citizens. I would love to know what ALEC’s ultimate game plan is–overthrowing the government?


    • js121

      I just emailed Ford asking when they are dropping membership.  You get a “blanket” reply.  We need to start cutting into them BIG time.  UPS/Fedex who are trying to privatize our Postal Service….Automotive companies…We bailed you out and you stab us in the back?  Pharmaceutical companies are going to be hard….they have a Very old solid pack with each other.  Walmart – Corporate board of ALEX..  Go after the Corporate Board first and little ones in between.  Here’s a good one I read today.  In various states (e.g. S.C, CO), ALEC is exempt from regulations concerning membership in lobby groups.  If ALEC is NOT a lobby group, then, why do their state laws have a exemption for ALEC – actually called out as American Legislative Exchange Council??????

      • jvaljon1

        It’s NOT UPS/FedEx who are trying to privatize our Postal Service.  Yes–they WANT that to happen.  But the Legislative Good Fairy to privatizing the Postal Service, is one Darrell Issa, Congressman from California.

        Look up Darrell Issa, people.  He’s a TRUE Republican!  He almost got jailed for Insurance Fraud back in the mid-80s–and he got his brother to take the rap for what they BOTH did, and what HE DREAMED UP–buying cars, insuring them heavily, declaring them stolen and collecting the insurance money.  

        He did do one–ONE good thing in his whole life long–Darrell Issa is the inventor of the “Viper”, one of the best if not THE best, anti-theft devices to ever come down the pike.  Just goes to show–may be PURELY UNFIT to hold political office, but everybody’s got a LITTLE GOOD in them after all.

        Problem is, do we want anyone with just a LITTLE GOOD in them, anywhere NEAR our legislative process?  Question is–do Californians, the ones who vote, are THEY happy with the prospect of losing their Postal Service???

      • js121

        Ford says that they left ALEC in 2005.  Going to submit that to the Center for Media and Democracy and have it verified.  That being said, I read an article today about Ford “buyout” of retired pension plan.  If they did leave ALEC, they are STILL operating according to the Koch business plan…..so???  If we break up ALEC…will they continue on…different name…same game?  ALEC has moved its “stand your ground” and Voter Restriction Task Force….to:  National Center for Public Policy…nothing changed..NCPP will pick up where ALEC left off. 

    • Ras0927

      After they get through raping and plundering this country, they are going to add on more debt,putting the proffits in the pockets of the rich.  Then they are going to sell us to China.  That is Mitt ‘s specialty why else would they want him elected.

  • Oldgraybuffalowoman

    So to all the voters who couldn’t wait to vote in all the tea party and republicans so things would change, how do you like it now?

    • js121

      They still like it that way.  They honestly believe that they are voting along party lines..Republican Party Platform.  There are NO Republicans in the Old GOP.  They are ALL members of ALEC.  They just use the name republican to secure their voting base.  The average joe on the street still believe them and can’t see beneath the guise.  When they do, maybe, they will fight to get their party back…until then, they are like the germans following Hitler – blindly, ill-infomed, misinformed, prejudicial, apathetic,   They do not recognize the enemy within their party and maybe never will; but, I say that any one who supports the organization of ALEC is a Traitor to this country, to our Democracy.  We are AMERICANS first….so, put your politcs aside and help rid our country of this oligarchy. 

      • Ms. Sjostrom

        Excellent point! You’re absolutely right agbout ALEC, and the sad thing is most Americans have no idea what this organization is and how it’s destroying liberty and justice in the U.S.

      • votekeeper

         Conspiring to overthrow the U.S. Government is treason. We should put ALEC, Citzens for Prosperity, NCPP, and their funders on trial. It would make for a gripping People’s Court case.

    • DownriverDem

      Many are too full of hate to even think straight. 

  • Av8tor17b

    REMEMBER- which “party” works to prevent voters from voting.
    REMEMBER – which “party” represents a clear and present danger to the citizens of the United States of America, by suppressing votes.
    REMEMBER – which “party” works to harm people, and transfer wealth from the common citizens to the greedy millionaires.
    REMEMBER- which “party” did all of this, and is a danger to the people.


    • Mbwp

      I don’t get it, why is it that people who go to college, work hard, provide for their family, and are then succesful in business, called greedy?

      • DianeEliz

        Why are so many of these same people now homeless?

  • Hinehn1


  • Guest

    Remember also.. this is not just hijacking democracy, because for them it is hijacking the assets of Michigan- pure theft.  It denies the opportunity for full bankruptcy procedure operated by the Feds.  This is State v Fed. only don’t expect to be defended by Democrats..as usual you will despair. ie. former D Gov. Granholm worked EM  and also screwed teachers with the R’s.  

    • DownriverDem

      Stick with now. We are not going to replay that. 

      • Guest

        This is now and those are facts.

        • DownriverDem

          If that is so, why can’t we go back to the fact that fat boy Engler did his share to destroy us too?  And W screwed the country even though repubs say no don’t look at W.  Hello?  What happened before is why we are here today????????????

  • Lorrielauterberg

    I believe these two should be tried and convicted of their crime against humanity. along with ALL ALEC members. 

  • ctd

    Is there a pdf of the document in question?

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  • Mbwp

    Would all of you liberals have the same opinions if one democrat and one republican had voted each way?  I think not.

    • This isn’t about being a liberal and being against Republicans. It’s about a concocted lie about font size. The fonts were the right size. They had the printer’s affidavit and the printer’s testimony. Unless the printer was lying to them (and on his affidavit which would make him a criminal), then they simply ignored the truth, accepted an obvious lie, and voted against anyway.
      If either of the Democrats had voted no, I’d be castigating them just as vociferously. I’m cometely capable of criticizing Democrats as anyone who reads this blog knows. My post about the barber shop poles this morning is an example.

    • Russbellant

      You are so wrong. People were at the Canvassers meeting to get that on the ballot. No party affiliation would have made a difference; if they voted to deny ballot access based on fraudulent claims, they would have been called out regardless of affiliation.

  • Kemerait

    time will come when these traitors hang…

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  • KJC

    it is just so sad and disappointing that something like this is happening, and that it has become such a big deal that they needed EXPERTS to tell them THE SIZE OF A FREAKIN FONT!!!  Ok, I get its more than just the font obviously but it just makes me sad to be American when I hear of things like this happening. 


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  • js121

    Who started calling it a War On??  We the People recognize that our rights are under attack.  ALEC and its members have declared war on every segment of our lives.  We are disclosing ALL the ALEC laws that are DIRECTLY drafted by the ALEC corporations and Voted on by these corporations – with their 2000+ republican ALEC alias, then make templates and issue them to their ALEC governors and shove them down our throat.  Unless YOU live in the State of Michigan, I don’t want to hear anymore crap about OBAMA — YOU live here in this stinking ALEC controlled state watching everything you held dear – Democracy – erode away into Oligarchy.  Engler our last governor was BIG in ALEC and he had it all laid out before Snyder even came to power.  Was so easy for ALEC to takeover….Now, our cities 1 by 1 are under dictatorship – all elected officials gone – dismantling or public assets for Peanuts…..$5000 for a radio station…1 million for a sports complex that cost 50 million….who do you think is buying all this????  ALEC members….want a nice golf course on lake michigan…go to benton harbor…they are giving away state land.  WAKE UP AMERICA….there are 21 states now under control by ALEC.  There is NO republican party anymore—just the average joe who is being duped and used as a voting base.  When republicans start fighting to get their GOP back, we will come together as the AMERICAN PEOPLE again and those republicans who were blinded at first, will be our best fighters for our Democracy…..Watch…They will stop the politics and help get our country back!!!!

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