Promote the Vote appeals board decision to Michigan Supreme Court in ballot bid

Michigan voting rights proposal seeks certification to appear on Nov. 8 ballot

Election inspectors are reflected in a window at right as they begin processing ballots while a voter outside arrives to drop off a ballot at an official drop-off box on Election Day at City Hall in Warren, Mich., in Macomb County, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/David Goldman) (David Goldman, Copyright 2020 Associated Press)

Those leading the Promote the Vote 2022 ballot initiative in Michigan have filed an appeal with the state supreme court after a board declined to certify their proposal for the November ballot.

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers on Wednesday deadlocked during a vote whether to certify the Promote the Vote 2022 proposal to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot. The proposal -- which submitted more than 664,000 signatures -- is seeking to amend the Michigan Constitution to make voting in elections easier and more accessible.

The board’s two Democratic members voted in favor of certification on Wednesday, while the two Republican board members voted against certifying the Promote the Vote 2022 proposal.

Proposal challengers argued that the proposal language failed to explicitly state how aspects of the state constitution would be affected by the proposed constitutional amendment. The two Republican board members seemed to agree, saying the challengers brought up points that call into question the language of petition.

The board did vote 4-0 to approve the proposal, and its language, before it began circulating.

The two Democrats on the Board of State Canvassers argued that the language of the proposal was already approved as is, but if there were judicial questions associated with the language, those challenges should be addressed by a court -- which the board is not. Their vote to certify was based on the Michigan Bureau of Elections’ determination that the proposal’s petition signatures were valid and qualified for certification.

Read more: Board deadlocks: Voting rights proposal not certified for Michigan ballot

The proposal needed at least three votes to certify it for the upcoming general election ballot. Wednesday’s deadlocked vote effectively declined to certify the proposal.

In response, proponents have appealed the Board of State Canvassers’ deadlock decision to the Michigan Supreme Court in an effort to get the proposal in front of Michigan voters in November. Plaintiffs are seeking “mandamus action asking the (state supreme court) to compel the (Board of State Canvassers) to perform its pure ministerial duty and certify the Proposal for the November 2022 General Election Ballot,” the complaint reads.

In the 50-page document filed Thursday afternoon, plaintiffs argue that the board has a duty to certify the proposal after the Michigan Bureau of Elections examined the petition signatures submitted, and found that at least 507,000 petition signatures were valid. Promote the Vote 2022 needed to submit at least 425,059 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

“(Promote the Vote 2022), Defendants herein, and even (Defend Your Vote) all agree that PTV22 submitted sufficient signatures and that its petition was approved as to form on February 11, 2022,” The complaint reads. “PTV22 therefore has a clear legal right to have the (Board of State Canvassers) certify the petition.”

The complaint also goes on to address challenges made by the proposal’s opponents, arguing that the proposal language would not abrogate other provisions in the state’s constitution as challengers allege it would. Proponents also argue that they previously responded to the challenger’s claims and debunked them.

You can read the entire court filing below.

The Michigan Supreme Court has limited time to respond, as the November ballot must be finalized by Friday, Sept. 9.

Promote the Vote 2022′s entire appeal

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About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.