A petition to repeal a state law Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has used for coronavirus orders was deadlocked Thursday by state canvassers, but it is still sending a strong message that citizens are fed up with the governor’s orders.
In October 2020, the Unlock Michigan petition garnered over 460,000 valid signatures, roughly 120,000 more than what was needed for it to go to the Board of State Canvassers for a vote.
An investigation into the validity of the signatures was launched, and the state’s elections bureau announced their validity Monday.
Even so, the panel of two Republicans and two Democrats split, with the Democrats saying further investigations are needed to determine whether the signatures were legally collected at all times.
“We are the gatekeepers of election integrity and election integrity includes petitions,” Democratic board member Julie Matuzak said, according to the Detroit Free Press.
A spokesperson for Unlock Michigan said the group will be taking legal action after the Michigan Board of Canvassers did not certify the petitions signatures.
He said it is heading to the Michigan Supreme Court.
The governor has called this effort “dangerous”. pic.twitter.com/2KWUWZDnEB
— Nick Friend (@NickFriendTV) April 22, 2021
With the board unable to reach the three-member threshold for action, the future of the Unlock Michigan petition now likely lies in the hands of the courts.
Regardless, the message Michiganders are sending Whitmer is clear: the draconian lockdown measures are no longer welcome.
Whitmer used to Emergency Powers Act of 1945 to justify her strict lockdown provisions, and Unlock Michigan’s main goal is to repeal that law.
The governor rose to national prominence for her leadership (or lack thereof) throughout the pandemic. Her tactics faced swift opposition across her state, largely due to instances of hypocrisy involving her and her family.
Prior to Memorial Day last year, Whitmer’s husband Marc Mallory tried using his wife’s name to move up on the list get his boat on the water during shutdowns, which Whitmer later claimed was a joke.
Did Whitmer take any questions from the media? Why is she hiding details about her recent out-of-state getaway? https://t.co/rl4pQ1GB9T
— Michigan GOP (@MIGOP) April 22, 2021
“Knowing it wouldn’t make a difference, he jokingly asked if being married to me might move him up in the queue,” Whitmer said after the incident, according to CNN.
“Obviously, with the motorized boating prohibition in our early days of Covid-19, he thought it might get a laugh. It didn’t. And to be honest, I wasn’t laughing either when it was relayed to me, because I knew how it would be perceived.”
More recently, the governor reportedly visited her father in Florida after recommending that Michigan residents avoid traveling out of state.
“The issue is not that Gov. Whitmer visited her father, it’s that she lied about it and continues to hide key facts,” Michigan Republican Party Communications Director Ted Goodman said regarding the trip, according to Fox News.
“It’s also hypocritical as Michiganders were denied the same opportunity through her rules that locked people from visiting their loved ones in hospitals and nursing homes.”
The rust belt state is currently dealing with a surge in coronavirus cases, a sharp contrast from the rest of the country.
Unlock Michigan can now seek a court order for the board to certify its petition.
“Once again the Michigan Supreme Court will have to smack down these board members who refused to do their jobs,” Fred Wszolek, a spokesman for Unlock Michigan, told the Free Press.
If the petition is ultimately certified, the petition would be brought to the Republican-controlled legislature. The legislature would then vote on repealing the 1945 law, a move Whitmer would be unable to veto.
While the fate of the Unlock Michigan petition remains unclear, Whitmer should take this as a clear message that her coronavirus policies did not execute the will of the people — and the people are fighting back.
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