Rick Snyder Attempts to Kill Democracy in Michigan via Fontgate

Yesterday I said in my most recent post that the effort by Republicans to derail the opposition to the Emergency Manager law (Public Act 4) in Michigan by challenging the petition on the basis that the font wasn’t the right size was sheer desperation. Matter of fact, this is exactly what I said:

Realizing now that this could actually happen, supporters of Public Act 4 are now mounting a challenge to the ballot initiative in the hopes of derailing this whole issue by saying that the size of the font on the petitions just isn’t  the right size and this simply won’t do. No, honest. This is what they’re saying. You think I could make up something this good? I return you to the Free Press, same article:

“While the number of signatures hasn’t been questioned, Woodhams said, the size of the type used on the petition forms was challenged as improper.

“On Thursday the Michigan Board of Canvassers is expected to meet in Lansing to decide whether the petition will be placed on the November ballot.

‘It’s entirely up to the Board of Canvassers” whether the font size issue is enough to stop the petition,’ Woodhams said.”

Some might refer to this maneuver as desperation. I am one of them.

And at the time I wrote that? Silly me, I still clung to the belief that a challenge this ridiculous simply would not be allowed to stand, not even with Republicans making up half of the four-member Board of Canvassers. I even laughingly referred to the whole charade as ‘fontgate’ because this was all just so funny.

Not much more than an hour after I submitted my post, that same Board of Canvassers delivered their 2-2 deadlocked verdict – along party lines of course – that the fontgate issue wasn’t such a charade after all. More specifically, the Republicans in the group voted in favor of the challengers, legitimizing their politicized, anti-democratic complaint that the people of Michigan should not be allowed to vote on whether or not the Emergency Manager law should be allowed to stand because the size of the font on the petition – the same petition that contained 40,000 more signatures than required to be permitted on the November ballot – was too small. So as of now, the issue will not be allowed on the ballot unless the opponents of Public Act 4 have more success with the Michigan State Court of Appeals. Attorney Herbert Sanders is expected to file within the week on behalf of Stand up For Democracy, the organization that collected more than 203,000 validated signatures. Only 161,305 were needed.

So here’s where I believe I got it wrong; the Republican challengers weren’t acting quite so much out of desperation when they submitted their challenge to the petition as they were being strategic. Of course they knew that challenging a petition as significant as this on the basis of font size is ridiculous on its face, but in another more craftily perverted sense they also knew that half of the Board of Canvassers were Republicans which meant they knew they could count on their deadlocked, lockstep votes to overthrow democracy. The will of the people be damned. The Republicans in this instance are about the King’s business, as in King Rick Snyder.

What’s interesting to note, by the way, is that prior to the vote taken by the Board of Canvassers, the damned Secretary to the Board of Canvassers Christopher Thomas wrote a memo to the Board stating that the petition is in substantial compliance.  And not only that, he could only find one instance of a successful petition challenge based on font size. If you have time you need to follow this link and check out the actual memo for yourself.

These folks don’t give a damn about us, but we’ve always known that down here on the ground. More important, and more urgently relevant, is that it’s now becoming indisputably clear what they want is to own us. Personally? I don’t care if you hate me. But when your objective is to own and control me by stealing my vote and stifling my freedom of expression?

Oh yeah. I have a big problem with that.




Image: Headwaters

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