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If you think elections just don't matter, this should wake you up


Thursday of this week, two Republican men denied a quarter million Michiganders their political voice, a voice guaranteed by the constitution of the state and firmly-rooted in the basic tenets of our democracy.

Two men.

It's astonishing that our system is set up to give two men this much power.

The excuse that both men gave was that, because the the heading on the petition was too small, the petitions were invalid.

But this was not and never should have been about the fonts.

During the hearing Thursday, the Board of State Canvassers heard from font experts about how you cannot measure the capital letter "N" in order to determine font size (as their opponents "experts" did.) They heard about how the law doesn't govern which font to use and how different fonts are differently sized for a given point size. They heard about "leading" and about how to fonts are actually measured.

But none of that was important. In fact, none of what I have written at Eclectablog about comparing fonts has been important.

After all of the testimony that the Board heard Thursday, only one person's testimony mattered. That was the testimony of Bruce Hack of Inland Printing. Bruce Hack is the man that printed the petitions. He has signed a sworn affidavit saying that the font was 14 point and gave testimony at the hearing confirming this. He even brought them screenshots to prove his veracity.

In other words, the petitions WERE PRINTED IN THE CORRECT FONT. This really wasn't a matter for discussion. The fonts were correct. They have the Printers Affidavit and his testimony to prove it.
And, yet, because friends of the two Republicans on the Board -- a coworker for one of them! -- raised the question, it gave them what they seemed to feel was room to vote "no".

But remember this: their votes were based on a completely fabricated lie.

Much of the testimony that was given at the hearing was about people engaging in the democratic process and having a political voice as granted them by the state constitution. They talked about how hard they had worked to exercise that right. They talked about a quarter million voices that deserved to be heard.

And in the end, all of that was wasted breath as two men, in collusion with people with a vested financial interest in the outcome, swept it all aside based upon a lie.

The election in Michigan in November is -- without any question or hyperbole -- the most important election in my lifetime. What we saw in Room 102 of the Lansing Center on Thursday is the direct result of one party have every bit of power in our government. If we do not wrest at least some of the control of our government back from the Republicans, the system of checks and balances will remain in tatters on the side of the road as they steamroll their agenda over our state.

Michigan Democrats must become energized to get Democrats elected to the state House and Senate this year. What happened yesterday was a clarion call. We do not have the luxury of being complacent or of wasting the summer and early fall ahead. Now is the time for action.

Adding... Just to show you how wrong some of the paid media types are on this, I offer up an example. Yesterday on Michigan Radio, Michigan Information Research (MIRS) journalist Susan Demas said this about the failure of the Stand Up for Democracy group to get their petitions pre-approved:
 

"You know, we do have rules in place for a reason and, ya know, I guess I think back to what I tell my nine-year old, uh, which is, "You know, if you're not following the directions, you're going to get going to get the assignment wrong. So you might want to take care of business first."

(Audio is HERE)

Here's what's wrong with that: First, getting petitions pre-approved is not a "rule". It's an OPTION. Second, and much more importantly, THEY DID FOLLOW THE RULES. The font size WAS correct and they have proof of it. The rules were ignored by the two Republicans on the Board. THAT is the story here and THAT is the story that our mainstream media outlets are missing.
Here's the response to Thursday's charade from the Stand Up for Democracy coalition:
 

CITIZENS ACROSS STATE OUTRAGED AT PARTISAN ATTACK ON DEMOCRACY AS EM REPEAL HEADS TO COURT
Stand Up for Democracy statewide coalition proves petition meets state law requirements as Republican operative’s phantom experts fail to show at hearing. “The masterminds of this scheme will be held accountable in the court of law for their shenanigans,” says lawyer.

Detroit – Citizens from around the state of Michigan continue to express outrage in the wake of a decision by Republican appointees at the State Board of Canvassers meeting rejecting expert testimony, physical evidence and scientific evaluation showing a petition to repeal the emergency manager law was in compliance with the legal font-size as required by law.

“This partisan attack on democracy will not stand,” said Herb Sanders, director of the coalition. “People are outraged at the bold faced hypocrisy displayed by Republican members of the State Board of Canvassers who rejected expert testimony, physical evidence and scientific measuring means presented to them in favor of affidavits signed by other alleged printing experts that didn’t even bother to show up to the hearing.”

The fact that no experts testified to the legitimacy of claims made that the font size was incorrect calls into question whether the affidavits are little more than pieces of paper signed by “ghost” printers.

“No one would be surprised to find that in politics some people are just dirty, lying cheats who will stop at nothing to get their way,” said Sanders. “One thing is for sure, they will show up in court or the masterminds of this scheme will be held accountable in the court of law for their shenanigans.”

The partisan attack came on the heels of news that the Stand Up for Democracy Coalition had officially received notice reporting the group had collected 203,238 valid voter signatures needed to place the repeal of Public Act 4 (aka the Emergency Manager Law) on the November 2012 general election ballot. The group exceeded the 161,305 valid signatures needed by more than 40,000.

On Thursday, April 26, 2012 the members of the State Board of Canvassers met in Lansing to decide if the petition would be placed on the November general election ballot. They also reviewed a memo from the Secretary of the Board of State Canvassers that largely dismissed the challenges of a Republican group seeking to prevent voters from deciding the fate of PA 4.

At the hearing, the font size on the petition was determined to be correct after physical evidence and expert testimony was presented to the board and several hundred citizens in the audience. Still, two Republican appointees to the board ignored the evidence before them and voted not to place the issue on the ballot to the outrage and disbelief of other Republican, Democratic and independent voters attending the hearing. The matter heads to the Michigan State Court of Appeals next week.

For more information go to www.standup4democracy.com or call 1-866-306-5168 to volunteer.

Originally posted to Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow on Sat Apr 28, 2012 at 08:54 AM PDT.

Also republished by Michigan, My Michigan and Your Government at Work.

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