DETROIT – Currently, the abortion rights proposal is off the November ballot.
The State Board of Canvassers deadlocked along party lines, meaning the abortion rights proposal and an overhaul of voting rights will go to the Michigan Supreme Court; The ballot needs to be finalized by Sept. 9, so we’re looking at a week to get a decision from the court.
If the State Board of Canvassers, which is composed of two Republicans and two Democrats, deadlocks, a ballot proposal won’t go to the ballot, and that’s what happened Wednesday (Aug. 31).
In both cases, the ballot proposals had more than enough signatures, but the Republican members turned them down for different reasons.
On the abortion ballot proposal, what can be seen in the video player above is the issue, a text formatting problem that left spaces out in four lines.
“Petitions are legal documents,” said attorney Eric Doster. “Legal documents require actual words.”
“But the board doesn’t regulate word spacing,” said attorney Steve Liedel. “The legislature has not delegated any authority to this executive branch board.”
The GOP members said no because of the missing spaces. Still, attorneys who are not involved in the case tell Local 4 they believe the Michigan Supreme Court will put it on the ballot.
The term they use is a scrivener’s defense meaning an unintentional drafting mistake.
The other ballot proposal, which would overhaul voting rights in Michigan, including allowing early voting, was kicked off for a different reason. It alleged a lack of listing every section of the state constitution it would get rid of or abrogate.
“Promote the votes proposal would abrogate several constitutional provisions including article two section two that were not republished in the petition,” said attorney Jonathon Koch.
The GOP members bought that argument and would not certify it. That, too, is headed to court for a final decision.
It’s important to point out that the Bureau of Elections recommended to the canvassers that they certify both ballot proposals, but the Bureau did not take any sort of recommendations or position on the legal challenges.