LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Friday, September 9th is the deadline for all 83 counties in Michigan to finalize their ballots for the November election.
The Michigan Secretary of State must certify the contents of the November ballot by 5 p.m. on Friday. With only two days to go, the fate of the Michigan Right to Reproductive Freedom and the Promote the Vote ballot initiatives, which would amend the Michigan Constitution, is unclear.
If adopted. the Michigan Right to Reproductive Freedom initiative would enshrine permanent abortion protections and other health reproductive health care services in the Michigan Constitution.
The Promote the Vote ballot initiative would change the Michigan Constitution to allow for things such as allowing third party special interest groups to fund Michigan elections, allow voters to join a permanent absentee ballot list and allow ballots postmarked before election day but received within six days to still be counted.
The Michigan Board of State Canvassers deadlocked last week on the decision on whether to allow these initiatives on the November ballot, which in effect blocked them from moving forward because they weren’t certified.
Both ballot initiatives had gotten the required signatures but Citizens to Support MI Women and Children had challenged the abortion ballot measure because of 60 spacing and formatting issues while the voting rights initiative was challenged because the petitions didn’t state which sections of the Michigan Constitution would be impacted if it was adopted.
The challenges brought up against both initiatives were not raised at the time the petition forms were approved and the state allowed them to be distributed, errors and all.
The organizations behind both ballot initiatives vowed to go to court after the Canvassers deadlocked. A spokesperson for the Michigan Supreme Court has told WKAR that the justices are aware of the deadline and are reviewing the case filings. Reproductive Freedom for All (RFFA), the group that initiated the abortion ballot initiative, filed an emergency complaint to the court where they asked for an expedited ruling. They argued that the rights of the people would be violated if the court rejects the ballot measure.
In addition, Michigan Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel has filed an amicus brief Wednesday morning in the case of Reproductive Freedom For All v. Board of State Canvassers for its appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court and asked them to issue a writ of mandamus that would require the Board of State Canvassers to certify the abortion petition because she believes they acted beyond their authority in challenging the spacing between words on the ballot initiative. She said, “An overwhelming number of Michigan residents signed petitions in support of placing the question of abortion access on the ballot in November. Our state Constitution provides the people with direct access to the democratic process and that access should not be limited by appointed individuals acting beyond the scope and authority of their duty.”
Promote the Vote 2022 also asked for expedited consideration of the court on September 1st, challenging that the Board of State Canvassers overstepped their authority. The court usually rules in favor of ballot measures if enough signatures are collected and the validity of the signatures on these petitions has not been challenged by any groups.
The court rulings are expected on Friday to meet the deadline so that the ballots can be printed on time. Overseas ballots go out to the military on September 24th and absentee ballots are mailed by September 29th.
The Michigan Supreme Court is comprised of four Democrats and three Republicans.