Paid petition gatherers for Unlock Michigan were schooled on how to trespass on private property, illegally collect voter signatures they did not witness as required by law and lie under oath if deposed, according to a recording of a recent training session highlighted in the Detroit Free Press.


Highlights available at the following timestamps:

[01:16:32]: The section regarding leaving petition sheets unattended for signatures and advice on how to lie at depositions.

Tips on how to trespass:

The trainer explains that in Michigan, parking lots of businesses are private property, but the circulators can still gather petition signatures there. The trainer explains how to trespass and then deal with police and management.

  • [01:06:47]  “Michigan is what they call closed access. So stores, parking lots are actually closed access. It’s private property.”
  • [01:03:14]  “I mean, you can work the parking lots. I don’t care if you do that.”
  • “Do not get scared that the cops are approaching you. Just be cool. Act like you don’t know anything. . . . [T]hey’ll walk over they’re like, uh, hey there, bud. What are you doing? Oh, I’m gathering signatures for a ballot initiative. Is there something wrong, sir? Yeah. You can’t do that here. [01:04:38] And, oh, shit. I had no idea I couldn’t do that here, man. I thought it was my First Amendment right to collect signatures on petitions, freedom of speech. I would never do anything illegal. I’m so sorry. I, I’ll get out here immediately. Right. And then you just act stupid. Right. And, you know, maybe they’ll take your I.D. and whatever. And they’re like, all right. Well, if we see you here again. We’re going to have to trespass you, right. Or they’ll trespass you right there. Most, most of the time they’re like if we see you here again we’re going to trespass you and and potentially arrest you.”
  • “And I just do this, I’ll do the second one and be like, I’ll go and get 10, ten to 15 sets he- ten to fifteen, six signatures here. [01:03:41] And then I leave before management sees me. I drive over the next parking lot. Ten or fifteen signatures. Go to the next parking lot. And I do the same thing to try to avoid management. 

Misinformation on Petition Process 

  • Trainees are told the Unlock Michigan petition allows the issue to go on the ballot for the people to vote on.  Circulators are urged to tell the signers that it will go to the ballot.  There is no mention of it going to the legislature first.  [00:08:32]  “So basically, this is a ballot initiative. We get enough signatures, it goes on the ballot, ok. No one is voting on anything here. And so that’s the big thing when dealing with these petitions is that most people who were on the fence, you can push them over the ledge by saying, listen, you’re not voting on anything here. OK? Don’t you think that everybody should get the chance to vote on this? I mean, that’s our privilege, right? All you’re doing is saying, hey, I think that we should be able to vote on this issue by signing this.” [00:11:38] “You’re out there only to get signatures to get the issue on the ballot, to . . . allow people to vote on it.”

[01:08:15] The trainer is in a management position. “Right now I’m in the management position.”