Whitmer, Benson, Nessel Continue To Stonewall Unlock Michigan Effort
On October 2nd, Unlock Michigan turned in petitions with 539,000 signatures to overturn the 1945 Michigan Emergency Powers of the Governor Act. Four and a half months later, the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office has not certified the petitions. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has been dragging her feet, claiming that the November 3rd general election and limited staffing due to the pandemic is the reason for nothing being done. Now, the left-wing organization “Keep Michigan Safe” is calling for continued inaction until Attorney General Dana Nessel’s investigation is complete. The group sent a letter to the Board of State Canvassers, demanding that the certification not happen until Nessel’s office investigates charges of “illegal petition signature-gathering tactics.”
Last week, State Rep. Brad Slagh, a Republican from Zeeland, introduced a bill that would impose a time limit on certifying the petitions. Slagh wants to place a time limit of 90 days for the Secretary of State and the Board of State Canvassers to certify petitions, or 120 days if they are turned in within 45 days of a general election.
Slagh says the long wait is not acceptable. “People may get the impression Secretary of State Benson is purposely delaying the approval process of these petitions because it could ultimately restrict the governor’s unilateral power,” Slagh said. Unlock Michigan gathered the 539,000 signatures in just 80 days, and they only need 340,000.
Once the petitions are certified, the state legislature may vote on whether or not to overturn the 1945 law. The Michigan Supreme Court invalidated the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act on October 2nd, the same day Unlock Michigan turned in its petitions. But the Whitmer Administration has done an end-run on the Court by simply having the State Health Director issue her orders.
One bone of contention cited by “Keep Michigan Safe” are comments made by Erik Tisinger, a trainer for the California signature company In the Field, Inc. In a video, Tisinger was seen coaching petition circulators on how to give voters false information, illegally collect signatures without witnessing them, trespass on private property, and even lie under oath. But officials at Unlock Michigan say they strongly suspect that Tisinger was a plant by opponents of the petition drive and that the video may have been staged. Tisinger, a Californian, has a track record of collecting signatures for left-wing organizations. Unlock Michigan refused to pay In the Field for their sub-contractor work.
State Rep. Mike Mueller, R-Linden, is also demanding that Secretary of State Benson get busy. “I understand your office has faced challenges with the ongoing pandemic, and that the recent election required your time and attention,” Mueller wrote. “However, we must also respect the will of the people, who overcame challenges to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures during the same pandemic.”