Petition to Undo Whitmer’s COVID Executive Orders Goes Viral & Meets Target
Target amount of signatures reached to proceed to the state Legislature
A viral petition to repeal Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s restrictive COVID-19 executive orders has now reached its target amount of signatures to proceed to the state Legislature, according to documents.
The initiative dubbed Unlock Michigan, needs 340,047 signatures to obtain certification from the state’s Bureau of Elections, which was needed to send the matter to the state’s Republican-led Legislature.
The petition drive had amassed 460,358 valid signatures out of a total filing that contained just over 538,000 signatures, according to a staff report from the Michigan Secretary of State’s office (pdf).
The report is a precursor to a meeting of the Michigan Board of State Canvassers and convenes April 22 (pdf) to decide the petition is satisfactory.
Michigan Republicans accuse Whitmer of damaging the economy and the livelihood of residents.
Fred Wszolek, the Unlock Michigan spokesman, praised the report’s recommendation in a tweet.
“The MI Bureau of Elections recommends that the #UnlockMichigan petition be certified. With over 460,000 VALID signatures, it’s not even a close call…. @GovWhitmer, maybe now you’ll try working WITH the legislature, instead of governing by decree?” Wszolek wrote.
Since May 2020, Whitmer has signed nearly 130 executive orders, imposing crippling restrictions.
Despite causing untold economic misery, Whitmer argued the measures were necessary to protect Michiganders from the outbreak.
If the Board of State Canvassers validates the Unlock Michigan petition, it will head to the state Legislature and enact a repeal of the 1945 act and avoid a Whitmer veto.
But another route could see the Legislature opted not to take up the matter and instead put it on a 2022 ballot for voters to decide.
But Unlock Michigan expects the Legislature to move to repeal, The Detroit News reported.
Opposition group, Keep Michigan Safe, which backs Whitmer’s draconian measures, challenged the petition.
The group called for a criminal investigation into how the signatures were collected earlier this month, claiming forged and duplicated signatures.
It also argues the petition was misleading and bypassed explaining the repercussions of repealing the 1945 law.
Keep Michigan Safe spokesman Mark Fisk said in a statement:
"By letting Unlock Michigan off the hook for its illegal and unethical practices, turning a blind eye to conflicts of interest, and glossing over the Board’s own abject failure to promulgate rules, this report has made a mockery of the initiative process.”
“We’re disappointed, but we will make our case to the Board of Canvassers and the courts to stop this ill-conceived and irresponsible petition drive.”
But Wszolek told MLive, Keep Michigan Safe's allegations were “frivolous” and “preposterous.”
“We just didn’t need to [mislead] at all,” he told the outlet.
“We had no problem getting people to sign this petition. The demand for overturning the governor’s abuse of emergency powers was pretty sweeping.”
The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the 1945 law is unconstitutional, adding Michigan governors don’t have the authority to issue executive orders.
Wszolek said Unlock Michigan was determined to see through the repeal regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“A different Supreme Court, like we currently have, could come to a different conclusion,” he said.
“We think that dumb ideas never really die in Lansing; they just take naps. This one needs to get strangled.”
Recently, Whitmer said her state wouldn’t carry out another COVID lockdown after Republican-led argued she overstepped her constitutional authority.
“I have been sued by my Legislature. I have lost in a Republican-controlled Supreme Court, and I don’t have all of the exact same tools [that I had 15 months ago],” Whitmer, a Democrat, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on April 18.
But Whitmer urged Michiganders to continue with public health measures.
“Well, at the end of the day, this is going to come down to whether or not everyone does their part. That’s the most important thing,” Whitmer said.
“We’re imploring people to take this seriously, mask up, get tested.”