Editorial Roundup: Michigan

Detroit News. August 8, 2022.

Editorial: GOP should pass on compromised DePerno

Matt DePerno was never the best choice for Republicans to unseat Attorney General Dana Nessel in the November election. He was awarded the state party’s endorsement in April at a convention dominated by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Trump endorsed DePerno, who carried his water in the unsubstantiated claim that mishaps with the vote count in Antrim County suggested widespread problems with the Michigan presidential vote in 2020, and continues to tout him.

But DePerno’s appeal is limited beyond the camp of Trump loyalists. If he appears on the ballot as the GOP standard-bearer for AG, Michigan Republicans will very likely squander their best chance to beat an incumbent statewide Democratic officeholder. Nessel has been out of the mainstream in her approach and hasn’t always comported herself well in office, which makes her vulnerable.

Now, DePerno is the target, along with eight others, of a criminal investigation initiated by Nessel’s office into unauthorized acquisition and tampering with voting equipment after the election.

If charged and convicted, DePerno, who the AG claims was present in places where illegally obtained voting tabulators were taken apart for testing, the GOP candidate could face five years in prison.

DePerno also disclosed last spring that he is the subject of an investigation by the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission into his activities in Antrim County. The commission’s disciplinary arm has the power to remove his law license.

DePerno called the criminal investigation “total garbage” and accused Nessel of playing politics.

But the reality is the accusation, legitimate or not, puts another cloud over DePerno’s campaign. Unless the special prosecutor Nessel is requesting declares whether the case against DePerno is legitimate before his name officially goes on the ballot, Republicans will be waiting for that shoe to drop throughout the campaign. The same is true of the Attorney Grievance Commission complaint.

This is a serious risk for Republicans, and one they still have an opportunity to avoid.

The state GOP holds its nominating convention in Lansing on Aug. 27, where it is set to confirm the endorsements made by delegates in May.

It takes 70% of delegates to overturn the April decisions, as well as approval by the party’s top officers.

It’s a high bar, but one Republicans should seek to meet. Standing a candidate who is under both criminal investigation and a professional standards probe is foolish.

Of course, DePerno could make this problem go away by voluntarily removing himself from consideration for the nomination, allowing the party to choose a candidate with a chance to win. For the good of his party, that’s what he should do.

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Traverse City Record Eagle. August 10, 2022.

Editorial: When normal seems noteworthy

Last week’s Primary Election Day proceeded at a normal pace.

Daytime voters trickled in, as they normally do, with the occasional spikes before and after normal working hours.

Turnout was at its usual with midterm primaries, 30 to 40%.

No-reason absentee voting continued to assert itself as a preferred voting method of non-partisan convenience.

Even before the election, public accuracy testing sported its usual crowds — of all-but-empty rooms.

After all of the election tension, we didn’t know what to expect, but in this case normal seems noteworthy.

And while it’s also normal to take our election workers for granted, they, too, are noteworthy for so many reasons.

Michigan just experienced a safe and smooth election, carried off by the 1,600 township, city and county clerks of Michigan, their staff members and the cadre of election workers who keep the democratic engines humming.

Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s secretary of state and top election official, thanked this group for their “efforts and integrity.”

Nationally, this contingent has faced more than 1,000 cases of harassing and intimidating messages since the 2020 election, according to Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite who reported to a special U.S. Senate hearing last week. Of these cases, about 100 rise to the level of prosecution, three people have been charged, and one person has been convicted, according to PBS coverage of the hearing.

Benson testified to the group about her experience with protesters gathered outside her home in December 2020, and called on leaders to increase spending on election security.

According to PBS, a bipartisan bill in the Senate would double the federal penalties to up to two years in prison for those who threaten election workers, poll watchers, voters or candidates.

We both support these moves and hope they’re unnecessary.

Currently, bipartisan boards of county canvassers are examining the unofficial results of the election, will conduct any recounts, and certify amended results. Then the Board of State Canvassers will review the election again and then vote to certify its findings before results are official.

We wish for continued normalcy and thank the officials and election workers for their help in making it so.

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Iron Mountain Daily News. August 11, 2022.

Editorial: State offers advice when considering, seeking student loans

As Michiganders prepare for the upcoming fall semester and start paying their college tuition bills, the Michigan Department of Treasury’s MI Student Aid Team is asking students and their families to be alert and informed when considering student loans.

“Michigan students and families cover a considerable amount of their higher education costs,” State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said. “When student borrowers become their own financial advocate, they can better understand how to manage and leverage the financial aid they receive. Please carefully consider only accepting those loans that are needed. The choices made by students today will have outcomes later in life.”

The MI Student Aid team recommends seven best practices when considering student loans:

— Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Colleges use information from the FAFSA to determine their financial aid awards. By completing and submitting the FAFSA, students maximize all their financial aid options.

— Understand loans must be repaid. Not all financial aid included in a financial aid award letter is free money. Many financial aid awards will include federal student loans. Unlike grants and scholarships, loans must be repaid with interest.

— Check the amount of interest being offered on a loan before accepting it. Federal student loans, Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) loans, and private loans have varying interest rates and repayment terms. Before taking out loans, students should identify and compare each loan’s interest rate and then accept the loans with the best interest rates and repayment terms.

— Only accept the amount you will need. Students can either turn down a loan or request a smaller loan amount, and the financial award letter should include instructions on how to do this.

— Be aware of loan scams. In a typical student loan scam, a scammer will ask for banking information from a student searching for loans. The scammer typically claims they will use the information to make a direct deposit into the student’s account in return for upfront fees paid through gift cards. Instead, the scammer accesses the student’s banking account and withdraws funds.

— Visit the school’s financial aid office once a semester. Even though students may not have to begin repaying their loans while they are in school, students should not wait to understand their responsibilities. Students should know the status of their college’s or university’s student account and keep track of the types of aid they receive. By making this a habit, students can avoid overborrowing and stay within their budget.

— Create an account at the studentaid.gov website, managed by the U.S. Department of Education. With a studentaid.gov account, students can track federal student loans, check the interest rate of each one and total interest accumulated to date. Students can also look over different repayment options, estimate monthly payments and learn who their loan servicer is when repayment begins.

For more information, go to https://www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid or contact MI Student Aid at mistudentaid@michigan.gov, 1-888-447-2687 or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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