LANSING — The Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) today applauded Democratic members of the Board of State Canvassers — Jeanette Bradshaw and Julie Matuzak — for their decision not to certify the Unlock Michigan petition.

“Julie Matuzak and Jeanette Bradshaw did the right thing by voting against certifying Unlock Michigan’s petitions and for demanding an independent investigation into the group’s illegal and unethical practices,” said MDP Chair Lavora Barnes. “From day one, Unlock Michigan has been a partisan Republican power grab spawned by Mike Shirkey to undermine and hamper Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s efforts to save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the same Mike Shirkey who pushes bogus conspiracy theories, called the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol a ‘hoax’ and used violent rhetoric to describe the governor.”
Unlock Michigan engaged in numerous unethical and illegal practices in its dangerous petition effort, including:

  • Hiring a felon convicted of voter fraud to manage the petition drive
  • Hiring field coordinators who coached signature gatherers to lie about the proposal
  • Coaching signature gatherers to leave unattended petition sheets with store clerks to illegally collect them from customers  
  • Coaching signature gatherers to perjure themselves if deposed for their conduct, and 
  • Coaching signature gatherers to collect signatures on private property without permission.

“Led by Mike Shirkey, Unlock Michigan’s unethical and illegal practices make a mockery of the initiative process and are an affront to our democratic ideals,” Barnes said. “I applaud Democratic Board Members Jeanette Bradshaw and Julie Matuzak for voting not to certify this illegal and unethical petition and for being gatekeepers of the integrity of our election process and our Democracy.”

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