Sep 1, 2022 - Politics

Ballot proposals head to Michigan Supreme Court

Board of State Canvassers
Board of State Canvassers meeting in Lansing yesterday. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

Two ballot initiatives, including the proposal to ensure abortion access in Michigan, are headed to the state Supreme Court.

Why it matters: The state canvassing board was deadlocked along party lines during yesterday's vote, meaning the ballot measure will need a court intervention in order to make the Nov. 8 ballot.

  • Spokespeople for Promote the Vote 2022 and Reproductive Freedom for All both said yesterday their committees will appeal the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court.

What's happening: Public commenters at yesterday's meeting who spoke against the abortion proposal focused on the run-on words and spacing issues that a Bureau of Elections report already said could not disqualify it from the ballot.

  • "The argument about confusion does not reflect what I saw when circulating this petition," Aaron Martinez, an RFFA petition circulator from Novi, tells Axios. "My neighbors who don't want 10-year-old children to be forced to carry their rapist's child to term knew what this petition said."

What they're saying: "It's not unprecedented that we disagree with (elections bureau) staff at times," said Republican board chairman Tony Daunt, who voted against certification. "Content is not the issue here for me, this is an egregious error of form with the way this is laid out."

  • "The board's own Bureau of Elections says they have no standing to address that. Their job is whether we met the signature threshold or not," Darci McConnell, communications director for RFFA, told reporters.

Context: Reproductive Freedom for All, which submitted a record 753,759 signatures, would enshrine abortion access into law and nullify the 1931 law that makes abortion illegal unless it saves the pregnant person's life.

  • An Oakland County judge ruled this month that county prosecutors can't enforce that ban ahead of the November election, ensuring abortion access until then.

What's next: The Supreme Court has until Sept. 9 to decide whether they will make the ballot.

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