ICYMI: Alleged Scheme to Stop Election Integrity Petition Uncovered in Michigan

Last week, a complaint was filed with the Michigan Secretary of State's office alleging that a group opposing a Republican-supported petition campaign promoting election integrity violated campaign finance laws by carrying out a scheme to prevent the required number of petitions to enact the reforms:

Opponents of an effort to expand Michigan's voter identification requirements orchestrated a "scheme to pay off" petition circulators in violation of campaign finance laws, a complaint obtained by The Detroit News alleged.

Dustin Wefel, a Michigan petition gatherer, was behind the complaint to the Secretary of State's office, targeting Protect MI Vote, the group opposing the effort to institute new ID standards for elections. Wefel's filing claimed Protect MI Vote worked with a consulting firm, Groundgame Political Solutions, to compensate petition gatherers, in part, so they wouldn't assist the Secure MI Vote initiative, making it difficult for the group to advance its proposal.

The payments weren't properly disclosed in fundraising reports, the complaint alleged. The filing cited text messages and a $50,000 contract between Groundgame and Wefel.

RNLA Michigan Chair Troy Cumings is representing Wefel in the matter.

If successful, the petition campaign would lead to a number of commonsense election reforms:

The voting reform initiative would require everyone to produce a form of ID at the ballot box, prohibit the Secretary of State from mass mailing absentee ballot applications, require ID for voting absentee, and prohibit state and local election officials from accepting private funds to underwrite election management. It would also provide funding for the printing of ID cards, which would be free for those with no other valid ID.

The voting measures can become law without Whitmer’s signature under a provision in the Michigan Constitution that permits citizen-driven legislative initiatives. Secure MI Vote needs 340,000 signatures on its three page petition by June 1. 

Support for election integrity measures remains high across the country.