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Briefs filed in lawsuit over Michigan GOP petition signatures

 GOP Gubernatorial candidate Perry Johnson
GOP Gubernatorial candidate Perry Johnson

The deadline to file motions in GOP gubernatorial candidate Perry Johnson’s lawsuit against state election officials was Tuesday.

He’s suing to remain on the primary ballot after the Board of State Canvassers failed to agree on the handling of thousands of signatures on Johnson’s nominating petitions.

The Bureau of Elections found those signatures were likely faked, meaning Johnson might not have met the ballot qualifying threshold. The Board of State Canvassers deadlock meant the elections bureau's recommendation to exclude Johnson, four other GOP gubernatorial candidates, and a handful of candidates for other offices from the primary ballot was sustained.

Johnson maintains he has enough valid signatures.

Still, attorney Steven Liedel filed a motion arguing Johnson isn’t entitled to a spot in the race.

“[If] the court were simply to place him on the ballot now, they would just be invalidating all of the fraud that appears to have occurred — the documented fraud, documented by multiple sources beyond the Bureau of Elections,” Liedel said.

And the group Voters Not Politicians filed an amicus brief Tuesday arguing Johnson has no legal right to ballot certification.

“Candidates for governor only had to collect 15,000 signatures. So, for candidates like Perry Johnson that failed to do that and are now refusing to take responsibility and are trying to blame others, they don’t deserve to be on the ballot. And it was right for the state to disqualify them,” the group's executive director Nancy Wang said.

In its response to the lawsuit filed Tuesday, the Board of State Canvassers requested the court decide whether the board should declare Johnson’s “petition sufficient under the circumstances.”

Meanwhile, the state is seeking to dismiss a separate lawsuit in the Court of Claims from Johnson’s fellow candidate James Craig.

In requests for summary disposition, attorneys for the Board of State Canvassers and the Michigan Secretary of State argue Craig failed to establish a claim for a violation of his right to due process.

The Secretary of State also argues there’s little time for a delay with ballot deadlines rapidly approaching.

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