More fallout from the investigation into the nominating petition saga involving former Michigan GOP Rep. Thad McCotter. The fraudulent petition problem, it appears, reaches back beyond this year. From a Gongwer New Service report : Former U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter had less than the minimum 1,000 petition signatures from registered voters to make the 2010 ballot, a Gongwer News Service analysis of those petitions shows. East Lansing-based Practical Political Consulting, the state’s top firm when it comes to voter lists, realized it had Mr. McCotter’s ballot petition signatures in its archives for all of his elections to Congress going back to his first run in 2002. The firm provided those records to Gongwer. In 2010, Mr. McCotter’s campaign claimed it submitted the maximum 2,000 petition signatures allowed. But rampant copying of petition signature pages showed at least 35 petition pages were copies.
Under state law, all pages that contain the same signatures are disqualified, and Gongwer counted at least 1,075 signatures that should have been invalidated by the Department of State’s Bureau of Elections in 2010. Gongwer reviewed about 75 percent of Mr. McCotter’s 2010 petitions when it hit the 1,075 number.
Additionally, Mr. McCotter’s status for the 2008 ballot appears borderline at best. Gongwer found more than 900 signatures that could have been invalidated as a result of the apparent copying of petition signatures from a previous campaign and pasting them onto petitions for 2008. His campaign in 2008 also claimed to have submitted 2,000 signatures, so he was running close to the 1,000 minimum and Gongwer did not review those petitions for duplicates. The discovery comes days after the Department of Attorney General charged four former McCotter staffers with election fraud for similar practices that the Bureau of Elections did discover for the 2012 campaign. Those petitions saw copying of legitimate petitions, as well as the cutting and pasting of old signatures onto new petitions.