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Democracy Canceled in Michigan Because of Incorrect Font Size on Form

Over two hundred thousand people in Michigan are unhappy about a state law that allows Republican governor Rick Snyder to declare martial financial law in struggling municipalities and bypass local governments by installing wee tyrant “emergency financial managers” who are allowed to void the official status of public unions, sell off public assets, declare dead cat carcass legal tender, etc. Whatever they want, as long as all the budget savings are immediately passed on in the form of corporate tax cuts. So the unhappy citizens all signed petitions to force the state to hold a public referendum on the law and then promptly submitted the signatures. What do you think of that, Republican members of the state body responsible for certifying the petitions? Let’s check the report: “Republicans cited the wrong font size on the title of the petitions circulated by Stand Up For Democracy, a coalition of groups that launched the petition campaign, as the reason for not approving the initiative for the ballot. Opponents gathered 203,238 signatures, roughly 40,000 more than needed to get a repeal question on the ballot.”

This should go over well!

The Board of State Canvassers deadlocked 2-2 along party lines Thursday on whether Michiganians will get to vote in November on a repeal of the controversial emergency manager law — sparking angry shouts of “shame” and “fascists” from the audience.

The vote means for now the question won’t appear on the general election ballot, but supporters said they’d challenge the decision before the Court of Appeals to try to force the question onto the ballot.

The printer says the petitions met the state requirement that the font size on the petition headlines be 14-point, so the Republicans are using their own standard from outer space, as usual. [Detroit News]

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148 comments

  1. CivicHoliday

    Not the wrong font SIZE, wrong FONT! Zapf Dingbat is the only approved font for petitions. Never mind that it is illegible…

    1. Dudleydidwrong

      Arial blah 72 point should be visible even to blind Michigan Republican morans. That's the font that Barry uses for his personal correspondence letter thingies.

  2. Wile E. Quixote

    The Republican commissioners on this board might want to reflect upon the fact that "second amendment solutions" is a sword that cuts both ways.

  3. Veritas78

    So now we're Egypt? Okay, let's see how that works out.

    The problem with thwarting democracy is that people then come up with their own forms of justice. Like lampposts. Which come in all font sizes.

    1. emmelemm

      The lampposts are just the right height.

      (Hey, that's even more appropriate, given the state in question!)

  4. EtchySketchy

    Needs to be the same type and size used on Sarah Palin's palm:

    14 point Fuck-Knuckle font

    1. LeathrTuscadero

      And we all know the preezy has a BIG stick. Joe said so. Right before they hauled him away to be wordlessly replaced by Hillary on the ticket.

  5. SexySmurf

    The petition was also rejected because Hugh G. Rection, Mike Hawk and Heywood Jablome signed in blue ink instead of black.

      1. horsedreamer_1

        Also: Marshall Mathers, Slim Shady, & Eminem signed separately, though clearly multiple personalities in the same host should allow for only one signature.

  6. Harry_S_Truman

    Hey, I live here, and I have to tell you that this is not the first time this has come up. There are stupid-ass rules, yes, but they are there for all to read, and the dumbfuck assholes who can't read have no one to blame but themselves for this fiasco.

      1. Harry_S_Truman

        There is a huge fight over whether the font size is or is not proper. That's not been resolved; neither has the standard by which the font size is to be measured, nor has the standard by which "substantial compliance" with the statute is to be judeged. This will go to the Court of Appeals (which could go either way, depending upon the make-up of the panel), and then to the state Supreme Court, where, unless there is no doubt that the petitions were in compliance with the statute, they will strike it down. Michigan has, perhaps, the most ideologically biased Supreme Court in the country, and now it's tipped 4-3 in favor of the GOP.

        And, just for the record, I signed that petition.

        1. sewollef

          I'm with the republicans on this one.

          If Rockwell Extra Bold Condensed 14pt wasn't in the Constitution then it has no right being in our democracy. Socialist fonts will only pollute our pure unsullied founding document.

          Be gone with you — liberal!

    1. Wile E. Quixote

      If you had bothered to RTFA you might have noticed that the printer says that the font is the correct size and that Timmer and Shinkle, the two commissioners who voted not to certify the petitions, are full of shit.

      1. Biff

        One of 'em is also employed by the people that brought the font size question up in the first place, so no WAY is there a conflict of interest, right?

        1. Harry_S_Truman

          Huge conflict of interest. There was an effort to get him to recuse himself, but that failed.

      2. Harry_S_Truman

        If YOU had bothered to read the fucking article, you would have noted that there is no difinitive resolution as to whether the font size is correct. Moreover, see immediately above.

        1. Wile E. Quixote

          Well I did read the RTFA, and its obvious to me that you still haven't bothered to do so. From TFA.

          Sanders testified there are several complicated formulas for determining font size, saying it's impossible to determine if headline type met the 14 point requirement simply by using a ruler.

          "If we are wrong, then the scientifically accepted formula for determining font size is wrong, if we are wrong then the Court of Appeals is wrong … if we are wrong then democracy is wrong," Sanders said.

          Printer Bruce Hack of Inland Press said he certified the type size met legal requirements before printing the petitions.

          "There is no way that you can just measure a capital letter and determine what the type size is," Hack said.

          Now, if you weren't an intellectually dishonest and had read the article you might have a certain skepticism about the fact that Timmer has a massive conflict of interests and that neither Timmer nor Shinkle has any expertise whatsoever with typography. You might have also, again, if you weren't intellectually dishonest and had actually read the article, asked who determined that the font size was incorrect and upon what basis was this determination made? But that would have been hard work, so instead you made a stupid and rather ill-informed comment about "ha ha, Demonrats are dum!"

          1. Harry_S_Truman

            Look, asshole, I read not only this article, but several others, and am intimately involved in this issue. But even the article you quoted from–in two separate places–says that the issue of the font size has not been resolved. That the printer says the font size meets the legal standard is not a definitive finding, and the fact that Timmer has a conflict of interest is well known here.

            I merely pointed ou that the law is plain, and we would have been wiser to not give the GOP any issue upon which they could find fault with the petitions.

            So blow me.

    2. Biff

      Then why does your profile state that you are the "mild-mannered sheriff of a small town in Washington State (pop. 51,209)?

    3. MilwaukeeKent

      Sounds like they complied with the rules, but with the Kafka-esque set-up of this Board (4 members, 2 GOP and 2 Dem, 3 votes needed) complying with the rules didn't mean shit. Comply with the rules and the rules will change. Only thing that might have been done wrong is not to run the petition form before the Board prior to circulating. Seems that's not required but "suggested". I can see them "suggesting" they redo the form again, and again, no matter how closely the form complied with the law, if it ever could. If the proponents did succeed in getting the form layout approved and circulated, they'd pull another rule out of their ass requiring signatures only in red or green ink.
      You guys can't get rid of Snyder and his TP pals fast enough.

      1. Harry_S_Truman

        God knows we're trying to get rid of his ass. He is one of the greatest sham candidates of all time.

  7. bikerlaureate

    Had the board voted to put the repeal question on the ballot, P.A. 4 would have been immediately suspended. Terry Stanton, spokesman for the state Department of Treasury, said Public Act 72 would then be revived. P.A 72 of 1990 allows for the appointment of emergency managers that have fewer powers than those granted under the current law. P.A. 4 gives emergency managers added powers, such as voiding union contracts and stripping elected officials of their posts.

    Democracy is tolerated only when it doesn't interfere with the Right Man's Burden.

  8. MistaEko

    It's a sign of the Times new roman that these republican Wingdings will pull anything out of the Arial in order to make a negative Impact on democrats and Courier favor with their overlords. Soon we'll be living in a downright Gothic era, or worse, have a nationwide Georgia. I'll see these bastards in Helvetica.

    1. HistoriCat

      It's not the Baroque age – you need to look to the Futura. So be Bold and don't act like some Italic Serif.

    2. sewollef

      I saw what you Didot there….

      But at least your grand Opus will last for Perpetua — or for this New Century of ours.

      Although, you don't sound too Lucida…. maybe we should Kabel your doctor for advice? After all we don't want any Akzidenz to happen, Grotesk or otherwise.

  9. PsycWench

    Maybe they should talk to the Republicans who found no problem with the butterfly ballot in 2000.

  10. Texan_Bulldog

    Silly Michiganers (and everybody else)…don't they know Diebold machines are currently being programmed as we type?

  11. Chichikovovich

    Michigan Rule, explicitly stated in the State Constitution that in order to have immediate effect, the 90 day waiting period for legislation to take effect must be waived by a 2/3 majority of the legislature?

    Petty formality, to be flouted by Republicans whenever it's convenient, which is, for them, always.

    Typeface standard that (if not just pulled out of the Republicans' asses) was set by some subcommittee in Lansing that just wanted to adjourn as quickly as possible?

    Absolutely rock-solid unbudgable principle of democracy. Rules matter.

    Welcome to the scary mind of the Michigan Republican.

  12. Monsieur_Grumpe

    Sounds like a job for the Tea Baggers. Oh yeah, they elected this constitutional molesting moron.

  13. radiomankc

    Another reason… another state where the people of America realize Republicans aren't fit to govern and have no respect for democracy. Vote all republicans out in 2012, state, local and national.

  14. Chow Yun Flat

    Ice water on the table at which the board had been sitting was spilled as Timmer and Shinkle tried to calm their critics

    Spilled ice water!! Vicious union thuggery in Michigan.

    1. bikerlaureate

      This is just as bad as surveyor's marks. Or economic matters discussed anywhere but in Quiet Rooms.

  15. MilwaukeeKent

    Nice little ALEC dry run they got going there, a few pilot projects, a little time and they can replicate it big,on whole large cities in fact. Just overturn the local duly-elected officials and run the place in a more "business-like, business friendly" way, a place where "The Tax-Payer is King." Except in cases like this, "Sorry, Tax-payers, but this petition isn't printed with 80% Soy Ink, 20% Ostrich Blood, as specified."

  16. SorosBot

    Quite frankly, many of 2010's crop of Republican governors are making Joffrey "Baratheon" seem like a fair and just ruler by comparison.

      1. SorosBot

        The problem is, eight years of being ruled by W makes being controlled by a total psychopath born of twincest seem like a walk in the park by comparison.

  17. Wile E. Quixote

    Our attorney general in Washington, Rob McKenna, is running for governor this year. I fear that if McKenna gets elected he's going to start pulling the same shit in Washington that Snyder is pulling in Michigan and Walker is pulling in Wisconsin. I wish that our state Democratic party had the balls to tar McKenna with the crazy brush. In order for McKenna to win he has to win in King County, the most liberal part of the state, and even the conservative part of King County, the eastside where Microsoft is located, is still pretty liberal, the fire-breathing "wimmenz are slutz who must have their vay-jay-jay's probed" shit doesn't play well over in Bellevue. So McKenna is engaged in a balancing act, he needs to appear moderate enough to get undecided voters in King County to vote for him while also appealing to the batshit insane conservatives east of the mountains (who are all a bunch of fucking worthless parasites who are dependent upon largesse from the more liberal parts of the state).
    I wish that Jay Inslee, the Democratic candidate, had the balls to go after McKenna. Ask McKenna if he would support a "stand your ground" law in Washington. Ask him if he is pro-choice. Ask him if he believes that women should be forced by the government to pay for unnecessary and intrusive medical procedures if they are seeking abortions. Ask him if he believes that women have the right to purchase contraception and then hammer him on his answers. If he answers moderately get the word out to the Republican base that he's wishy-washy and a RINO. If he gives answers that please the Republican base then make sure that every undecided voter knows that he's every bit as batshit insane as Jan Brewer, Rick Scott, Rick Synder, Rick Perry, etc.

    1. Isyaignert

      I live in WA too and I'll bet you're right about McKenna being one of "them" – gotta stop that mofo!

    2. iyamtoo

      HEY! I am an east sider…and I would gladly punch Rob McKenna in the throat if I thought it would do any good. It's HUMILIATING to have Cathy M-R as my rep. I cry. At any rate, I will tell ya that there is such a complex of us-vs-them from east to west…dunno how to fix that. It would be great to see Inslee actually take McKenna on over here. He needs to find the talking point to convince the rural folks, who don't trust anybody. :P

  18. Biff

    Back in the days when I actually still had a jerb, I (and everyone else with a .ca.gov email address) would get an email about every two weeks from General Services stating that the "official" font was now xxx. Changing fonts in Lotus Notes was sometimes challenging, so I never bothered. Maybe this is why I am no longer employed.

    1. Designer_Rants

      Lotus Notes. I know exactly what you mean. We had a dedicated person in our offices who we called when we were told about how the New Official Email Signature should look.

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      Yes, this is kind of important, because a lot of Washington voters still think McKenna (lets face it, he looks like a fucking high school math teacher) is just a regular guy and not whatever it is our corp overlords want him to be at any given moment (by which I mean, he's a Republican).

      The Democrat, Jay Inslee is a reasonable person, and indeed a progressive. I just hope he and/or his campaign manager grows a set of balls in the next few months and learns to play this game the way it has to be played, for good or ill. Inslee hasn't the charisma of an Obama, and needs to take the gloves off to pull this out.

    1. Tundra Grifter

      A disgruntled DMV "Customer" here in NoCal burned an employee's Cadillac.

      Person sent to get a new registration – car was towed from the employee parking lot due to expired tags.

      Turned out the Caddy belonged to another DMV employee.

      1. Generation[redacted]

        You see what happens, Larry? See what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps, Larry?

  19. SayItWithWookies

    Hey, they at least supplied a reason — granted it was a sucky, made-up bullshit reason, but one doesn't want to go overboard with the whole idea of being accountable to the citizenry.

  20. Negropolis

    What's even worse is that most of the judges on the Court of Appeals are conservative and the Supreme Court is Republican dominated, so I don't have much hope. It's crazy because the politics, here, have been so blatant since 2010. I'm talking complete disregard for Michigan law and tradition.

    1. Man0nTheStreet

      But Michigan ReThugs have an older, better body of law and tradition for you – the Old Testament!

  21. Tundra Grifter

    This is the Ole Newt technique – if you don't get what you want (say, you don't get on the ballot in Virginia or elsewhere) then you try to change the rules.

  22. Mumbletypeg

    Ice water on the table at which the board had been sitting was spilled as [Republicans] Timmer and Shinkle tried to calm their critics

    The obvious outcome to this whole debacle should at least result in the opportunity to have a new font named Shimmer and/ or Tinkle… What are you lookin' at, sirs… Did I get something wrong in the processing of this information?

  23. Karma_Suture

    So do the 203,238 signatures mean anything or are they void because of some asshat with a stylebook?

    1. Doktor StrangeZoom

      I see that the lawyers for NBC Universal have scrubbed the interwebz and removed any video of Rosie Perez in the opening credits of Do The Right Thing. The Power has won.

  24. Negropolis

    Let's see…pass the emergency manager law and then put it into immediate effect without the required two-thirds vote? Okay.

    Pass a blatantly local act for Oakland County to oust it's Democratically-controlled reidistricting board, because you didn't like how they drew the map, and then pass it without the 2/3 majority required for local acts? Okay.

    Toss out 200,000 signatures over a technicality for which your side might not even be right in rejecting it?

    That's okay, too, I guess.

    You know, at least in other teabagger controlled states they own the bullshit they legislate. In Michigan, the rules don't count…until they do.

    1. Angry_Marmot

      Seconding that from the west side of the state– this is a stealth version of the clumsiness in Wisconsin.

      1. Negropolis

        You know, Rachel Maddow has taken hell here in Michigan from some local bloggers and media types, but I tell you there is nothing that she has reported that hasn't gotten to the main point, and that is that what is happening in Wisconsin is happening in Michigan, but under the guise of a governor who talks a progressive gam, but who signs into tlaw the most regressive bullshit.

        Snyder is a fucking joke. One Tough Nerd, my black ass. He can't even stand up to his own party on anything. There has literally been one or two vetoes.

        Can you tell that I'm really worked up about this? lol Unlike some of these others states where they claim "how could we have known/this was a bait and switch" this really was a bait-and-switch. When the media was vetting the guy, what little they could find of his political opinions showed the guy to be pro-choice (if even personally pro-life), pro-environment, pro-immigrant, pro-science…and yet he's governed like any other teabagger governor.

        1. Corrugated Palin

          As an actual nerd, I have this personal rule that anyone who ran Gateway Computers is prohibited from calling themselves either tough or a nerd. They're like eMachines without the quality. (In fact, I'm pretty sure they owned eMachines.)

        2. Chichikovovich

          Everything you say about Snyder is 100% true. I will note, though, that he has one point in his favor, which is that unlike every other Republican politician in Michigan and a troubling number of Democrats (not Andy Dillon, at least, but including Snyder's former opponent Virg Bernero) he supports a second, publicly owned bridge over the Detroit river.

          That's become my personal test for corruption in this state: there is absolutely no good reason to oppose the bridge – just dozens of transparently made-up non-reasons. The policy reasons in its favor are overwhelming. Opposing the bridge means you can be bought cheap, and it's horrifying to see how much of the political establishment of the state falls into that category. [Plus, in the case of some of the Republicans, they seem to be opposed to it precisely because it would be good for Detroit, and they like Detroit helpless and politically neutered.]

          1. Negropolis

            "Build the dnaged bridge!", indeed. If he can get that done, I won't forgive him, because it's something any governor should just get done, but I'll give him credit for it.

            The bridge really is a test. I mean, it just makes so much since given how much the Canadians sweetened the deal. If Republicans can't vote for it, it does show they are bought-and-paid for.

          2. comrad_darkness

            There are four bloody bridges between Niagara and Buffalo regions. Crazy there are only two on the other side. I don't count the tunnel. I went through it once and the throughput was so slow I thought time had stopped. (or maybe that was the claustrophobia kicking in . . .)

    2. Wile E. Quixote

      Where does this end? There's this saying that I've seen on merchandise at gun shows. It goes like this:

      There are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty
      – the soap box
      – the ballot box
      – the jury box
      – and the ammo box.

      The Republicans have worked their asses off to eliminate the first one by having "free speech" zones at any event a Republican might be attending and shamefully enough some Democratic politicians have done the same.

      The ballot box. Yeah, we saw how that went in 2000. The Supremes never should have gotten involved, and then the Supremes said "Hey, guess what, we're going to make it legal for rich people and corporations to buy politicians." Now the Michigan state government has basically said "Hey, fuck you" to 200,000 people for no justifiable reason whatsoever other than a misplaced, hypocritical and unimportant bit of unjustifiable legal pettifoggery (and please, if you think it's justifiable to throw out those 200,000 signatures because the fucking font size wasn't right on the petition header than what other bullshit rules are you willing to let the government impose on your right to free speech? I wonder how conservatives would react to a law that required all government forms to be submitted in both and English and a Spanish translation, and that any form that was not filled out in both English and Spanish would be rejected? I'm kind of thinking that that would piss them off and this should too. The government is basically saying "Hey, guess what, we reserve the right to ignore you for whatever bullshit reason we find that make our lives easier."

      The jury box. Yeah, we have Republicans constantly spouting bullshit about tort reform and liability limits. It's amazing the cognitive dissonance Republicans have with regards to the wealthy and powerful facing civil sanctions and the not so wealthy, or powerful, or blah or messican's facing criminal charges. If a corporation or wealthy person is being sued Republicans automatically assume that is a completely unjustified and frivolous lawsuit. If a blah or messican or poor person faces criminal charges it is equally justified that they are guilty and that the system is not punishing them harshly enough. Three-strikes laws and mandatory minimums have reduced the discretion of judges and we have more people in prison than the Chinese do.

      So what leaves is the ammo box. Goddamn that's ugly.

  25. Pat_Pending

    Petitions should only be submitted using the most badass font of all…

    COPPERPLATE MOTHERFUCKING GOTHIC

  26. glamourdammerung

    And the Republicans are too profoundly proud of their deep ignorance to not realize what doing a jig about how great this foolishness is looks like to decent folk.

  27. Tundra Grifter

    Little known fact. Good King George rejected those petitions from the American Colonists requesting they be treated as English subjects because he didn't like their fonts.

    That long "S" just drove him nutz – and the American Revolution was the result.

    Plus, of course, the Americans were such crappy spellers.

  28. teebob2000

    The BEST part of this is that Timmer — one of the Repugs on the commission who voted to throw out the petition — works for the Repug strategy consulting firm THAT BROUGHT THE LAWSUIT TO THROW OUT THE PETITIONS. And he didn't recuse himself.

    HOW FUCKING GREAT IS THAT???!!! Hate them as passionately as you want, and nobody hates them more than me (except Michigan residents), but these guys are fucking geniuses.

    1. Generation[redacted]

      To think, all this time he could have broken Republican filibusters with a simple font size rule.

  29. Generation[redacted]

    You stoopid libs. Why dont you take yor 13 point font to North Korea where it belongs!

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