Perry Johnson asks judge to stop printing of primary ballots over candidacy disqualification

Perry Johnson, whose disqualification from the Michigan gubernatorial race was upheld by the state Supreme Court last week, has asked a judge to stop the printing of the 2022 primary ballot. 

In a lawsuit filed in federal court, Johnson requested a temporary injunction against both the printing of the August ballot as well as the election rules requiring 15,000 signatures to qualify for the race.

In the filing, Johnson accused the Bureau of Elections of using "secretive processes, deceptive practices, and on nothing more than whims of fraud, drastically changed…" the agency's procedures for reviewing signatures. The changes that Johnson accused the bureau of deploying were "novel, inconsistent, trivial, and wholly arbitrary data points."

It's the latest legal drama surrounding one of the most dramatic shifts in Michigan election history after several high-polling candidates were eliminated from contention. 

Johnson was one of five Republican candidates for governor who failed to submit enough signatures to qualify for the ballot after more than 68,000 signatures were deemed fraudulent. In addition to Johnson, James Craig also pursued legal avenues to return to the ballot through requests with the state Supreme Court. 

The court voted 6-1 against hearing the case. 

That was last Friday. During the BOE's meeting with the Board of State Canvassers the week before, its director, Johnathan Brater, urged the election panel to move swiftly with their recommendations due to the little available time the state has to prepare for the August primary election day.  

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But in Johnson's latest filing, he accused the BOE of deviated from its standard canvassing practices when reviewing signatures. It found 9,393 signatures were invalid. 

For the ballots to be ready by election day, they'll need to be readied by June 18 so absentee voters can receive the ballot. Because of the time constraints, a temporary restraining order "is the only possible avenue for Mr. Johnson’s name to appear on the August 2, 2022, primary ballot."