Ruth Johnson

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Ruth Johnson
Secretary of State of Michigan
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 1, 2011
Governor Rick Snyder
Preceded by Terri Lynn Land
Personal details
Born (1955-01-08) January 8, 1955 (age 59)
Holly, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Don Nanney
Alma mater Oakland University
Wayne State University
Website Government website

Ruth Johnson (born January 8, 1955[1]) is the current Secretary of State of Michigan. She is a former member of the Michigan House of Representatives and the 2006 Republican candidate for lieutenant governor as the running mate of Dick DeVos.

Background[edit]

Johnson, of Holly, a former public school teacher and small business owner, was clerk and register of deeds of Oakland County, a suburban area immediately north of Detroit with a population of more than one million, prior to her election as secretary of state in November 2010.[2][3] She was elected clerk of Oakland County in 2004 after defeating long-time incumbent William "Doc" Caddell in the Republican primary, and was the first woman clerk in Oakland County's 176-year history. From 1988 to 1998, she was a member of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners.

Johnson was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 1998, and re-elected in 2000 and 2002; term limits made her ineligible for a fourth term. While in the House, she served as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee and as assistant majority whip.[1]

In 2010, she won the Republican nomination for secretary of state at the party's state convention. Her opponents were Paul Scott, Michelle McManus, Anne Norlander and Cameron Brown.

2012 Controversy[edit]

In the 2012 election cycle, Johnson added a checkbox to ballot application forms requiring that voters indicate whether or not they are a citizen.[4] Voters must complete an application to vote on election day before they can receive a ballot; Michigan requires photo identification.[5]

In making this requirement, Johnson claimed that 4,000 non-citizens vote in Michigan elections. A state analysis suggested that 54 ineligible voters, out of a sample of 58,000, had voted. Reportedly, four of the 1.2 million people voting in the GOP primary may not have been citizens.[6] However, Johnson has provided details about only two ineligible voters.[7]

In July, Governor Rick Snyder (R) vetoed a law which would have mandated the citizenship checkbox.[8][9][10] Nevertheless, Johnson included the checkbox as part of the August primary ballot application form. Post-primary news reports suggested 4-in-10 calls to voter election hotlines were related to the citizenship box.[11] Other news reports indicated that citizens had been turned away from the polls or were confused.[12][13]

A voting rights coalition filed suit in federal court on September 17, 2012, charging that the citizenship check box was "unconstitutional and a violation of federal and state law." The complaint noted that the Johnson's office was forced to issue a directive on the primary election day that clarified "that the box was unenforceable."[14] A hearing has been set for Friday, October 5.[15]

Several municipalities have publicly stated that they will not include this question in the November election.[16][17][18]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Terri Lynn Land
Secretary of State of Michigan
2011–present
Incumbent