Michigan elections officials had proof Emergency Manager repeal petitions were legal but kept it secret

Astonishing

I find myself using the word “astonished” or “astonishing” a LOT lately when it comes to Michigan politics. My level of cynicism seems to be rising exponentially as each week passes when I see the outrageous and egregious things that Republicans are doing in our state.

But this might take the cake.

If you are unfamiliar with the issue of font size of a single petition heading being used to disqualify the petitions signatures of over 200,000 Michiganders, you’ll want to read THIS first.

The Stand Up for Democracy coalition released information today that shows that Michigan elections officials had been given an expert analysis by Assistant Professor Chris Corneal of the Graphic Design in the Department of Art, Art History and Design at Michigan State University that showed the font in question was, in fact, 14-point bold as required by law. The analysis was actually REQUESTED BY THE DIRECTOR FOR ELECTIONS FOR THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, Chris Thomas.

However, Mr. Corneal’s analysis was, for some reason, never mentioned in the report given at the April 26th hearing.

Mr. Corneal has since signed a sworn affidavit that says:

1. He was asked to review the font size of the petition headline that is in dispute.

2. He determined that the font size is correct.

3. He told elections officials the font size is correct before the hearing.

The repeal opponents, namely the Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, have been successful in getting Mr. Corneal’s affidavit and testimony quashed and the results of the expert analysis that he did at the request of the Elections Board will not be presented at the Court of Appeals hearing tomorrow that will decide the fate of the petitions. The judges ruled that it was not admissible since it was not presented at the April 26th hearing. It was not presented by the Stand Up for Democracy attorneys because they only this week learned of it and, for some reason, it was not mentioned by the elections officials even though they were the ones to request it in the first place.

But that’s not all. Testimony and an affidavit from another expert witness, Michael Migrin, was also quashed, even though Mr. Migrin testified at the April 26th hearing.

Attorneys for Stand Up for Democracy have, of course, filed for a reversal of these decisions. In their filing they speak plainly:

The conduct of the Defendants in this regard is simply outrageous, and should not be tolerated by the Court.

You can view the court documents along with the emails proving that Mr. Corneal was, in fact, contacted by Director of State Elections Chris Thomas HERE (pdf). Their press release HERE.

The burning question is “Why didn’t Mr. Thomas reveal this information to the Board of State Canvassers at the April 26th hearing?”

Stand Up for Democracy held a press conference to release this afternoon and have scheduled a prayer rally at 9 am outside the Michigan Court of Appeals in front of the old GM building at W. Grand Blvd. and Second where they hope to “pack the courtroom for the 10 a.m. hearing.”

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  • Teresa Blundell

    Thank you, Chris Corneal for being honest and speaking out against actions that were clearly biased and suspicious. As Chris Thomas requested the information, what was his responsibility to disclose the findings prior to the hearing with the Board of State Canvassers? What about the responsibility of the other members of the Elections Board? Withholding information that has a direct bearing on a hearing seems to be a reason for further investigation. Now who at the State will investigate why Chris Thomas and other members of the Board withheld information that they requested and ultimately should have impacted the outcome of the hearing on April 26th? I say “should have” because nothing is beyond belief with State of Michigan government officials anymore.

  • Capt. Harold DeHart

    These are the same kind of people who continually call President Obama a Socialist but who are, in fact, dictators, along with our governor and his legislature.

  • Steve Smith

    14 points = 14/72 of an inch in height. I realize that the Board of State Canvassers may be the ultimate authority on this rather than a court, but it should be an easy enough method to measure the actual letters. Hope the court can reverse the decision. This should come down to a simple, absolute measurement and giving the will of the voter the benefit of the doubt.

    • http://fuzzytek.tumblr.com/ Stephen Boyle

      You would think it would be so simple! You can take a font from font foundry to font foundry and find differences between them. This is a TECHNICALITY and not about the content – the technicality should not stop the law from being served. If the Board of Canvassers approved the petitions presented then this referendum should be allowed onto the November ballot. They did approve the petitions.

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  • VoteGuardian

    The Bureau clearly violated MCL168.476 (3) which requires the Bureau to make its staff report public at least two days before a hearing, and to make all documents available on a daily basis. Violations of election law are at minimum a criminal misdemeanor punishable by 90 days in jail and $500 fine. If it is shown that the Bureau lied under oath, the conduct escalates to a felony.(4 years in prison, $1,000 fine). It’s time for the PA4 repeal sponsors and circulators to file a complaint against Ruth Johnson with the State Police.

    • Humanity1st

      Quoted and shared. Strongly suggest people get hot making these realities known in various forums around the net. If only seven of you have access to computers, thats seven of you who need to post information about your captivity in all of the national magazines in ways that make people see that they’re states are next. That will not only drive up interest on a national level and keep Michigan’s dictatorship in the news, it will also expose the strategy used, make people sensitive to the right things (specific people in positions to buy out their freedom). I urge you to reach beyond your boarders, as did Wisconsin when they rose up, as did Vermont when they chose Single Payer, and as do so many others who know they are being literally enslaved by a FASCIST CORPORATE COUP. We the people are awakening, Converse in and with Occupy Wall Street, and all others who fight your same fight. Our problem is that we all are too damn proud to ask for help or demand attention. We have infinite solutions with this internet, but we are stuck inside the box of methods dictated by our own limited experiences instead of brainstorming to use this great tool to show the great contrast between what america prints on the Statue of Liberty and how it’s made your state a prison.

      • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

        Great comment. Thanks so much.

  • DownriverDem

    Well, what a crock of you know what. My mother told me when I was a kid that the repubs are just a bunch of lying bastards. Mom was correct as usual.

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  • fitzingsworth

    Republicans. That’s it.

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