Tell Michigan's Secretary of State: Elections Are Not Optional!

  • by: Richard Renner
  • target: Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette

Denying citizens the right to elected representation is the ultimate betrayal of American democracy.

From September 13, 2011, when a vacancy occurred on the Board of Commissioners in Missaukee County, Michigan, until January 1, 2013, the voters of Missaukee County Commission District 3 have been denied their legal right to elected representation.

Michigan election law dating back more than 40 years requires that a special election should have been called to fill the vacancy.  The special election could have been called concurrent with the February 28, 2012 Presidential Primary Election, at no additional cost to Missaukee County taxpayers.  Despite all this, no special election was ever held.

Missaukee County's Chief Elections Officer, County Clerk Carolyn Flore, has a history of violating election law including the illegal certification of the Primary Election in August of 2010.

A formal request was made to Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson's office for an inquiry into the failure to schedule the special election.  Despite repeated assurances from Johnson's staff that this very serious violation of election law was being looked into, her office now claims no knowledge of any such investigation and stated in a letter that "the Department does not possess public records" of the inquiry into this matter.

We now publicly request that Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson conduct a complete, timely, and transparent investigation into this entire matter, making the results available to the public and the media.  Further, we request that Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette ensure that appropriate and necessary legal action will be taken against those responsible for denying citizens their fundamental right to elected representation.

Franklin Roosevelt once said, "Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves, and the only way they could do this is by not voting."  In Missaukee County, the taxpayers of the 3rd County Commission District were not even given the choice.

Dear Secretary of State Johnson and Attorney General Schuette:

On September 13, 2011, a vacancy occurred in the office of County Commissioner in Missaukee County, Michigan, less than nine months into a two-year elected term.  From then until January 1, 2013, the voters of Missaukee County Commission District 3 have been denied their legal right to elected representation.

Michigan law, under MCL 46.412 of 1966, requires that a special election be called to fill a vacancy in the office of County Commissioner when such vacancy occurs in an odd numbered year, even when a temporary appointment is made to fill such vacancy.  In this case, no special election was ever called.

Sadly, Missaukee County's Chief Elections Officer, County Clerk Carolyn Flore, has a history of such election law violations including the illegal certification of the Primary Election in August of 2010.

On August 20, 2012, a formal request was made to the Secretary of State's office for a formal inquiry into the failure to schedule the special election.  Bureau of Elections staff repeatedly acknowledged said request and made assurances that a formal investigation into the matter was conducted.

On November 7, 2012, in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the FOIA Coordinator for the Secretary of State's office claimed no knowledge of any such investigation and stated in a letter that "the Department does not possess public records" of the inquiry into this matter.

Therefore, we the undersigned do hereby request that Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson conduct a complete, timely, and transparent investigation into this entire matter, making the results available to the public and the media.  Further, we request that Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette ensure that appropriate and necessary legal action will be taken against those responsible for violating MCL 46.412, and against those who may have violated the Freedom of Information Act, MCL 15.231 et seq.

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