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Monday, September 23, 2013

IU News Exclusive: Democracy in Peril Michigan: HB 4833 Imposes a 115% Usage Tax for Election Recounts

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Thursday, September 19th, Michigan House of Representatives passed 95-9 House Bill 4833. The bill imposes a usage tax up to 115% on any Michigan candidate participating in a previous election to conduct a legal recount.

Sponsored by Representative Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth Township) June 13, 2013, HB 4833 increase cost associated with recounting elections were suspected margin of error is within 49 votes or less from $10.00 to $25.00 per precinct. If a Michigan County canvass is 50 votes or above between the declared winner and other challengers, price to recount each precinct increases 115%, from $10.00 to $125.00.

House Bill 4833 co-sponsors were Representatives Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R-Alto) Gail Haines (R-Clarkson) Harold L. Haugh (D-Roseville) Eileen Kowall (R-Waterford) and Harvey Santana (D-Detroit).

Speaking with the Detroit Free Press on September 20, 2013, Representative Heise stated HB 4833 intent is to cease 'Frivolous Recount(s)" in Detroit, Michigan.
“What happened in Detroit does underscore the need for this kind of legislation,” Heise said. “It’s a waste of taxpayer dollars and an abuse of the system for people who clearly lost an election to come back later and expect the taxpayers to do a frivolous recount,” Heise stated to Reporter Kathleen Gray.
HB 4833 not only impacts Detroit but the legal process of conducting future election recounts across Michigan localities but it appears Representative Heise is worried about recounts in Detroit.
House Bill 4833 Moves Rather Quickly After Detroit Primary Election Recounts Begins

Which could explain why HB 4833 originally evoked in Michigan's House of Representatives June 13, 2013, was dormant from June 18th - September 12th, 2013 or two days shy after Wayne County Board of Canvassers started Detroit's August 6th Primary Election Recount on Tuesday, September 10th.

From Michigan Legislative Website - House Bill 4833:

History (House actions in lowercase, Senate actions in UPPERCASE)
Date         Journal Action
6/13/2013 HJ 59 Pg. 1268 introduced by Representative Kurt Heise
6/13/2013 HJ 59 Pg. 1268 read a first time
6/13/2013 HJ 59 Pg. 1268 referred to Committee on Elections and Ethics
6/18/2013 HJ 61 Pg. 1281 printed bill filed 06/14/2013
6/18/2013 HJ 61 Pg. 1282 reported with recommendation with substitute H-4
6/18/2013 HJ 61 Pg. 1282 referred to second reading
9/12/2013 HJ 73 Pg. 1408 read a second time
9/12/2013 HJ 73 Pg. 1408 substitute H-4 adopted
9/12/2013 HJ 73 Pg. 1408 placed on third reading
9/19/2013 HJ 76 Pg. 1456 read a third time
9/19/2013 HJ 76 Pg. 1456 passed; given immediate effect Roll Call # 290 Yeas 95 Nays 9
9/19/2013 HJ 76 Pg. 1456 title amended
9/19/2013 HJ 76 Pg. 1456 transmitted

Former candidate for Detroit Mayor Tom Barrow, contenders for Detroit City Clerk B. Ella Wilcoxin, City Council Monica Lewis-Patrick, Derrick Muhammad, Francine Adams plus three other named ballot elected office seekers filed requests with Wayne County Board of Canvassers to recount the City's August 6, 2013 Primary Election. The former candidates alleged recount petitions fraud or mistakes occurred with tallying votes cast during Detroit's August 6th primary.

Moments after Wayne County Board of Canvassers begun for the first time in history recounting Detroit Primary Election Tuesday, September 10th and beyond, problems were found. Questionable occurrences have included to date the presence of computer-generated write-in ballots, write-in votes written with eerie similar handwriting, poll books total failing to follow by sequence with the number of votes cast for a precinct, write-in ballots changed with white-out and wrote over.

Major problems with the integrity of Detroit's August 6th Primary was discovered due to recounting the City's election at the reasonable price of $10.00 per precinct. House Bill 4833 sole intent seeks to prevent candidates desiring to recount future election where fraud is suspect, adding a 115% usage tax to the process.

Centralization of The People Electoral Power Into The Hands Of A Few

Electoral power of the People is centralized by the Powers that Be with HB 4833 passage. The measure directly grants the authority to control an election to incumbent elected officials located in Michigan's two main political parties, along wealthy individuals expecting quid per quo political favors for campaign donations in kind. 

House Bill 4833 places Democracy in Peril within the Great State of Michigan, and 95 Democrats and Republicans in the State House Chamber voted in unison to do so.

State House Representative Harvey Santana (D-Detroit) not only voted for but Co-Sponsored House Bill 4833. As Detroit Primary Election recount goes forth with Wayne County Board of Canvassers leading the legalized process, Rep. Santana Co-Sponsored a measure, if it was Michigan law before September 9, 2013, would have effective silenced any attempts to discover suspect fraud with Detroit's August 6th Primary Election.

As a second termed House Representative, Santana fleece battle gain his seat in 2010, beating Democratic primary challenger Stacy Pugh by just 3% -with Pugh acquiring 32% of the vote and Santana -35%. As a incumbent in 2012, Santana won his second Democratic primary by a wider rounded margin, 3600 to be exact over then challenger Hussein Berry 1275 votes to Santana's 4875 total ballots cast.

Nevertheless, Santana tenure in Michigan's State House has not been without its' share of controversy.

From June 8, 2012: -- "Rep. Harvey Santana Faces Sanctions After Allegations of Misconduct"
"Michigan state Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Detroit, was removed from his two committee posts by House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, on Friday in response to allegations of repeated "unprofessional" and "inappropriate" conduct, the Detroit News reported. The sanctions will be effective Tuesday, according to ClickOnDetroit. He will no longer be allowed to serve on the Energy and Technology Committee or the Transportation Committee. 
 Reports of unprofessional conduct first surfaced in December when Rep. Santana allegedly almost got into a physical altercation with Rep. David Nathan, D-Detroit. While witnesses said Santana had "lunged" at Nathan, House officials said the incident "really wasn't anything" even though Rep. Roy Schmidt, D-Grand Rapids, had reportedly stepped in-between the two, according to the Associated Press. 
The decision follows what the Detroit Free Press dubbed an "outburst" by Santana after a House vote Thursday. Although House Sergeants were reportedly called to intervene, there were no reports of physical violence. The vote was in regard to HB 5688, which will give cities the right to establish public lighting authorities. The bill passed 79-27, according to the Detroit News. 
Santana was reportedly upset because he was not allowed to formally voice his concerns regarding the bill while it was being discussed before the official vote. Minority Leader Richard Hammel, D-Mount Morris Township, was reportedly the target of Santana's outburst and was also the person to formally request that he be stripped of his committee appointments, MLive reported. 
Bolger said he agreed to Hammel's request because Santana had established a track record of inappropriate conduct, particularly in regard to fellow members of his political party."
Since 2012's incident, Representative Santana has regained committee his assignments. According to the Representative's website, Santana sits on the Committee's for Military and Veterans Affairs as Democratic Vice Chair, Michigan Competitiveness, Commerce and on the Statutory Standing Joint Committee on Administrative Rules as Democratic Vice Chair.

Rep. Santana's Chairmanship on the Administrative Rules Committee is interesting, in light of Michigan's Election Recount Law - MCL 168.862 granting any candidate suspecting fraud or a mistake prevented the proper canvass of votes cast in a previous election to petition for a recount.

Other Michigan Recount Statutory Laws include MCL 168.865 allow petitioners to request for a correction tally of votes in a precinct were fraud or an mistake has impacted the canvass, MCL 168.867 defines how the sum of $10.00 per precinct in question during a recount will be used and MCL 168.870 details the administrative process with conducting recounts in Michigan localities.

Republican Representative and Co-Sponsor of HB 4833 Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R-Alto) during 2012 easily won second-term after collecting over $92,000 in campaign donations from large business interests. Yet, after winning a second-term in the Michigan House, Rep. Lyons requested for an amendment to exempt her spouse, a Correctional Officer, from the impacts of Michigan's highly controversial Right to Work for Less Law.

From "State Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons tried to exempt husband from right-to-work law" - December 12, 2012:

"State Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto, was among right-to-work supporters quoted in The New York Times on Tuesday, Dec. 11, saying “this is the day that Michigan freed its workers.” But she also proposed to add corrections officers to the list of public employees - including police and fire - not covered by the right-to-work law. 
The amendment was gaveled down and did not come up for a vote. 
“When we talk about the brave women in police and fire we need to remember people in corrections,” said Lyons, whose husband, Brad Lyons, is a corrections officer. “These guys work in conditions that we can’t even begin to imagine.
"It's not financial. It's philosophy. I am saying we need to treat our corrections officers that way we treat our police men and women and firefighter men and women.”

Representative Lyons appears to have no problems shutting down the Democracy process in Michigan, voting and Co-Sponsoring to increase costs associated with conducting legal election recounts up to 115% to $125.00 per precinct if the candidate lost by more than 50 votes.
What Can Be Done to Stop House Bill 4833 & Save Electoral Democracy In Michigan

Speaking of philosophy, it would equality be a philosophy in a functional Democracy that the highest integrity should exist with citizenry participating in Michigan Elections across our Great Lakes State.

How can Democracy be saved in Michigan in aspect to discover, locate or detect suspected fraud or mistakes in a previous election? By either State Senate leaders refusing to take up House Bill 4833 in its' Chamber or by Governor Rick Snyder, who recently announced his intent to run for re-election, to veto this bill.

Otherwise, if the State Senate pass House Bill 4833 and the measure is signed by Governor Snyder this legislation after the Governor's signature is law immediately, thanks to a overwhelming majority of 95 House Representatives voting in unison statutorily grant HB 4833 'immediate effect' as a law.

Democracy is indeed in Peril, in Michigan.

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