FACT CHECK: Perry Johnson’s New Ad Stokes Fear and Spreads Lies About Elections in Order to Undermine Trust in Democracy

Odd-quality “guru” Perry Johnson released yet another ad – this time to broadcast his election conspiracy theories. As with the rest of the Republican gubernatorial field, Johnson is relying on dangerous lies about the 2020 general election in order to undermine public trust in the electoral process, call for restrictions on voting, and propose an extreme plan to slash funding for Detroit and other local governments over clerical errors. 

An obvious scheme to impose his wrong-for-Michigan agenda as he tries to buy his way through this crowded and messy primary, Johnson’s 30-second spot relies on misleading claims to prop up a lie that Republicans have remained fixated on for two years. Here’s the truth:

Audited Over 250 Times, Michigan’s 2020 Election Was the Most Secure in State History, Republican-Led Study Also Confirmed There Was No Evidence of Fraud

Johnson’s ad opens with him declaring that “quality elections…means secure elections” – a standard that already exists in Michigan. As of December 2021, “more than 250 audits” of the 2020 election have been conducted by both Republican and Democratic local election clerks alike. All have affirmed the truth: that the election was secure and accurate.

Additionally, last June the GOP-led Senate Oversight Committee released their months-long study that concluded “there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.” And to combat the sad reality of individuals promoting false claims about the election “to raise money or publicity for their own ends.” 

Voter ID is Already a State Mandate in Michigan

Johnson’s pledge to enact voter ID laws rings hollow as it is already the standard in Michigan. But rather than acknowledge that fact, he has thrown his support behind the intentionally disenfranchising Secure MI Vote ballot petition. One of the main goals of the initiative founded by fellow election conspiracy theorists is to eliminate an affidavit option that allows voters without an ID to cast a ballot “under penalty of perjury” that already does not get counted until they are reviewed and approved by election officials.

Based on recent elections, eliminating this option would have shut nearly 20,000 Michiganders out of the right to exercise their vote, the majority of which came from communities of color.

Johnson Threatened To Slash Funding For Detroit Based On Misleading Figures, Even Citing Articles That Actually Affirmed Both the Accuracy and Security of the 2020 Election

Johnson threatened to “hold Detroit accountable” and threatened to slash funding for the city based on misleading figures which experts say are the result of human clerical errors like jammed tabulators.

Johnson’s ad centered on August primary reports in Detroit, conveniently leaving out where it stated that “the election results for the primary weren’t incorrect” for the city. And as for the broader Wayne County, less than one-hundredth of one percent of absentee ballots were found to be out of balance for the 2020 general election.

The ad cited a Detroit Free Press article that actually reported Michigan Auditor General Doug Ringler “validated 99.9% of ballots tabulated by voting equipment and certified by county and state canvassers and confirmed in post-election audits.”

Johnson Has Established Himself as an Election Conspiracy Theorist That Has Fully Embraced Anyone Willing to Prop Up 2020 Lies

In the span of a few weeks, Johnson endorsed professional election conspiracy theorist Matthew DePerno’s bid for Attorney General and then stood beside him at Mar-a-Lago cheering on false claims that the election was stolen.

DePerno has used his campaign for Michigan Attorney General to elevate his singular agenda to decertify the state’s 2020 general election results. A mainstay at rallies across Michigan meant to keep dragging out whatever dangerous lie he thinks will aid him in his crusade to undermine and relitigate the democratic process, DePerno was called out by name in the Republican-led Senate Oversight Committee report on the 2020 election for spreading “demonstrably false” conspiracy theories “based on misleading information and illogical conclusions.”

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