MI Supreme Court to decide on voter rights petition after board deadlocks

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Posted at 1:44 PM, Aug 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 13:55:01-04

(WXYZ) — The Board of State Canvassers has deadlocked and 2-2 to certify a proposal that would expand voter rights in Michigan. The decision on the petition will now go to the Michigan Supreme Court to determine if it will be on the November ballot.

Republicans Tony Daunt and and Richard Houskamp voted against certifying the proposal while Democrats Mary Ellen Gurewitz and Jeannette Bradshaw voted for certifying the proposal.

The proposal would make changes that would make it easier for people to vote. Those changes include adding more absentee ballot drop boxes and putting pre-paid postage on absentee applications and envelopes, providing nine days of early in-person voting, allow Michiganders voting in military to have their ballot counted if postmarked by election day and more.

According to the Bureau of Election reports, after the sampling, the total number of potentially valid signatures would be 630,415, which was above the required 425,059 signatures to get on the ballot.

One group, Defend Your Vote, challenge the petition saying that it failed to include all of the constitutional challenges that would be abrogated by the proposed amendments to the Michigan Constitution.

According to the Bureau of Elections report, the petition did include the language and listed sections altered or abrogated, and that other parts of the challenge would raise legal arguments that needed to be decided by the court.

Lawyers for groups both for and against the proposal spoke for more than an hour about the challenges. Daunt and Houskamp urged the board to take the challenges seriously.

On the other hand, Bradshaw and Gurewitz said that it wasn't up to the board to make the decision and instead their job was just to certify the signatures.

The proposed 100-word summary for the proposal would be:

"Proposal 22-2

A proposal to authorize additional absentee voting provisions, early in-person voting, and donations to fund elections; and add current legal requirements for voter identification and post-election audits and canvasses to the Michigan Constitution

This proposed constitutional amendment would:

  • Recognize fundamental right to vote without harassing conduct;
  • Require military or overseas ballots be counted if postmarked by election day;
  • Provide voter right to verify identity with photo ID or signed statement;
  • Provide voter right to single application to vote absentee in all elections;
  • Require state-funded absentee-ballot drop boxes, and postage for absentee applications and ballots;
  • Provide that only election officials may conduct post-election audits;
  • Require 9 days of early in-person voting; • Allow donations to fund elections, which must be disclosed;
  • Require canvass boards certify election results based only on the official records of votes cast.

Should this proposal be adopted?

[ ] YES [ ] NO"

After the vote was deadlocked, the board did vote 4-0 to designate the Promote the Vote as Proposal 2 on the November ballot if the Supreme Court votes to certify the proposal.