Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Q:JOCELYN BENSON What will you do to stop petition drive fraud?

originally uploaded by terrybankert.
Candidate for Michigan Secretary of State.

Recently there was/is controversy in Flint Mi that the paid circulators of the petition to recall Flint Mayor Dayne Walling were telling signers that it was a petition to increase police and fire protection. MLIVE had extensive coverage of these allegations in Flint.

The petitions were disqualified by the City and County Clerks office's not based on allegations of fraud but a disqualification of the petition signatures.

The challenge to that decision was heard the 7th Circuit Court and remanded to Federal Court for a hearing today Wed.09/08/10.

I posted to my open discussion face book page on 09/07/10.

"Interesting article on fraud in the initiative petition process A recall of a mayor is one such process. The author is Jocelyn Benson the Democratic nominee for Michigan Secretary of State. Smart lady who makes many good points. I'll post the link  below.

Flint Area Attorney and facebook friend Patrick Kirby posted a response.

He said"I read the article. It documents the extent of the fraud and deceit perpetrated to place the anti-affirmative action amendment to the Michigan Constitution on the ballot in 2006. The article also documents how ineffective state agencies and. both the state and federal courts were in offering a remedy for the fraudulent actions. That ineffectiveness was the result of a lack of statutory authority directly addressing and prohibiting the fraud used to induce voters to sign the petitions to place the imitative on the ballot. What is shocking is the fact that there are no state or federal statutes directly addressing and penalizing, either criminally or civilly, the fraudulent representation of content of ballot proposals by petition circulators."

Other facebook friends commented;

Gary Flinn "I believe that petition drives should be regulated. Yes, there should be criminal penalties for petition drive abuses. The petitioners and circulators must live within the political jurisdiction of the politiician who is the subject of the recall campaign."

Andrea Sutton -If the petitions are signed under "false pretenses" than this issue is a complete no brainer.

Barry Simon -Absolutely! As well as penalties for lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits ... since hanging in the "Public Square" is unlikely to pass the "cruel and unusual" test, i can only recommend that ALL violaters (on both counts) are gathered for public tarring and feathering at high noon every July 4th as a kick-off to Flint's Independence Day celebration! (sponsored by Jerry Preston, of course)

Sally Haywood -Courts ruled the petitioners did not have to live within the political jurisdiction of the politician facing the recall. See the Andy Dillon recall issue.

Gary Flinn- ‎@Sally: Then let's contact our state legislators asking for legislation requiring petitioners to live within the political jurisdiction of the politician facing recall.

Andrea Sutton- I think that there might be a dual issue pertaining to this. 1. People getting paid for circulating petitions, which, the downfall? People may be getting paid for each signature which would lead to lying to get the said signatures. 2. Apat...hy, if people were restricted to their own jurisdictions than people might not want to get involved. Considering Flint is the county seat and a large metropolitan area, people from the outbound area have an interest also...

Brent Nicholas- just to bounce off of this issue, I also find it sad that there are no penalties for 100% blatantly false political ads. We ask for truth in advertising laws for betty crocker and McDonalds and make drug companies rundown every bad thing t...hat happened to every single person in clinical trials, but we don't ask for truth from our candidates. One glaring example for me was the anti gay marriage measure that passed. Numerous ads ran saying that it did nothing more than clarify that marriage was between a man and a woman and didn't change anything else. Yet once it pased the very same groups who funded the measure and ran the ads immediately went to court claiming that any state contract or university contract that offered benefits for same sex couples was now invalid. They also have battled to claim civil unions would be illegal under this measure. They of course knew they would file the lawsuits against same sex benefits when they ran those ads. Yet nothing happens. There is no recourse, no penalty. The lesson is instead that if you can get away with it, do it. The penalty for illegal campaign contributions is also woefully inadequate. A certain local candidate for office failed to report numerous donations and also took donations over the limit. Almost zero penalties even if he's found "guilty" And he almost won the election because he knew the benefit to a last minute infusion of money for ads was worth the slap on the wrist he might get. There is just a lot of reform that needs to go on in the political process.

Bobby Johnson -Terry unfortunately I find it wrong, on the other hand the people need to start Reading before signing. as you know signing your John Hancock on a Document that says you read it and understand it. Not really the Truth in most contract peopl...e can Read them and never totally understand them. How ever that is one Reason a Petition is Rejected if it is not Clear for the common person to understand. so even though it is Wrong for the person circulating the petition to Mislead the people. It is also Wrong for the People to sign a Petition Making David Davenport President of the United States just because they did not Read it.

Stewart French- Just pass a law making it illegal to pay people to collect signatures.



"What happened in Michigan in 2006—a high profile and controversial initiative to amend the state constitution earning a spot on the state ballot despite findings of fraud and misrepresentation—is
a cloud in a larger storm in the world of direct democracy.

For one,

just a month after voters in Michigan voted to pass his MCRI and

amend the state constitution to end affirmative action, Ward Connerly

announced that his organization had already selected nine

other states as their next potential targets: Arizona, Colorado, Missouri,

Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

245 Voters in those states should be alert to the potential that

the campaign will implement tactics similar to those found to have

occurred in Michigan, which could result in an amendment to the

state constitution that is “stained by well-documented acts of fraud

and deception.”246

But it also goes without saying that Connerly’s MCRI campaign

was not the first, and it will not be the last, to be accused of engaging

in fraud and deception to induce unsuspecting registered voters

into endorsing petitions to place their initiatives on the ballot.

In the absence of strong state and federal protections for voters victimized

by such acts, these methods may continue unabated, causing

further damage to the integrity of the direct democracy process.

If government officials, state election authorities, clerks, courts,

voters, scholars, and other election experts intensify their scrutiny

of the signature-gathering process, actively endorsing procedures

and regulations that protect voters from trickery and fraud, the

trend can be stymied.

When that occurs, our country’s system of

direct democracy, celebrated through the initiative process, will be

brought closer to the ideal of being both direct and democratic. "[Benson conclusion]

Q: TO JOCELYN BENSON. Ms Benson if you are elected to the position of Michigan Secretary of State what will you do to stop or punish fraudulent activity on the part of ballot initiative petition circulators ?See More
Posted here by
Terry Bankert

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