Gov. Gretchen Whitmer April 14

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the public on April 14 as Michigan faces the highest COVID-19 rates in the nation.

(The Center Square) – The state Bureau of Elections determined the conservative Unlock Michigan petition to remove Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency powers has enough valid signatures to be certified Thursday by the Board of State Canvassers.

Unlock Michigan needed 340,047 signatures to obtain certification. By Monday, bureau staff estimated Unlock Michigan had gathered roughly 460,00 valid signatures.

Unlock Michigan spokesman Fred Wszolek tweeted Monday:

“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?”

If the split party board certifies the petition, the proposed repeal of the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act would go to the GOP-led Legislature, which is expected to enact the repeal that Whitmer won't be able to veto instead of sending it to the 2022 ballot.

Wszolek said he expects the legislature to vote on it “very soon” after Thursday to repeal a “horribly drafted” bill that “gave the governor the power to essentially govern by decree indefinitely,” he told The Center Square in a phone interview.

“From a balance of powers standpoint, that’s a terrible idea,” Wszolek said. “No person should have the ability to govern by magic wand as long as they want, because once somebody takes on power, they never think it’s a good time to give it back.”

On Oct. 2, 2020, The Michigan Supreme Court ruled the 1945 law an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to Whitmer and tossed her orders issued after April 30, recommending Whitmer instead work with the legislature to protect Michiganders.

Whitmer had used the law to declare an emergency with no end date, and issued unilateral rules that resulted in criminal charges across the state, ranging from gym owners to people allegedly fixing a car in their private backyard. In Detroit, 2,681 criminal charges and fines were doled out, but eventually dropped months later.

However, Whitmer turned to a 1978 law authorizing her health department director to issue epidemic orders that include a mask mandate and gathering restrictions.

Republicans allege Whitmer chose to “go it alone” against COVID-19, while Whitmer contends she’s “following the science.”

The liberal group Keep MI Safe has sued to stop the Unlock Michigan petition.

Staff Reporter

Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.