"Indications of apparent fraud": GOP candidate may have submitted dead voter's name to get on ballot

A woman said Rogers' Senate campaign submitted a nominating petition sheet with her dead brother's name on it

Published May 24, 2024 1:31PM (EDT)

Former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) speaks at the Vision ’24 National Conservative Forum March 18, 2023 in Charleston, South Carolina. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) speaks at the Vision ’24 National Conservative Forum March 18, 2023 in Charleston, South Carolina. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Republican Senate candidate Mike Rogers’ nominating petitions are being called into question by Michigan Democrats who are urging state election officials to examine what they say are "indications of apparent fraud," the Detroit Free Press reported Friday.

Senate candidates are expected to submit 15,000 valid signatures to get on the ballot. Democrats claim that over half of Roger’s 30,000 signatures may be illegitimate, with lawyers working for the party claiming to have found "patterns that indicate the presence of potential forgery and other fraudulent signature gathering tactics."

Rogers, considered a frontrunner for the Republican nomination, was endorsed by former President Donald Trump in March. Primary elections will be held in August.

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers received the request for a probe late Thursday. The same concerned parties last week asked the board to look into the petitions of other GOP Senate candidates, too, among them former U.S. Reps Justin Amash and Peter Meijer (Meijer dropped out last month).

"The apparent fraud uncovered demands an immediate investigation," Lavora Barnes, head of the Michigan Democratic Party, said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Rogers rejected the claims, calling them an "antidemocratic stunt."

Democrats say a review of a random sample from Rogers' petition sheets found that 23 percent of the signatures were from people who are not registered to vote, suggesting 6,500 of the nearly 30,000 signatures his campaign gathered may be invalid.

They also found indicators that suggest fraud related to the petition sheets that at least 18 signature gatherers for Rogers submitted 12,300 signatures between them. According to Democrats, the petition sheets include misspelled names, incorrect addresses and inconsistent handwriting.

Six voters whose names appear Roger’s petition sheets say they never signed them, according to the Democratic-comissioned review. An affidavit from one voter states that her brother could not have signed the petition because he died in 2022, The Detroit News reported.

The Democrats’ lawyers are led by Christopher Trebilcock claimed that state canvassers have previously upheld that fraud by a circulator on one sheet “calls into question” the validity of all the petitions submitted by that circulator, the Detroit News reported.

"If the board finds that any circulator submitted a fraudulent petition sheet, it should invalidate all of that circulator’s sheets — for any candidate," Christopher Trebilcock, a lawyer for Democrats, wrote in the letter to state officials.

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