Michigan emergency manager law repeal could be on ballot if petition is approved

Group's petitions have incorrect font size; Board of Canvassers must decide whether to allow emergency manager repeal on ballot

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter

DETROIT - One of Gov. Rick Snyder's first orders of business was to move Public Act 4 through the state legislature.

The act sends emergency managers into failing Michigan cities to make decisions which elected politicians lack the will and financial stability to do. The emergency manager is ideally meant to fix financial meltdowns.

Many say it's a smart move by Snyder and state legislatures while many others say it's a breach on voter rights. The group called Stand Up For Democracy sees Public Act 4 as a draconian move to strip local voters of their elected officials.

Stand Up For Democracy has succeeded in collecting enough valid signatures to get the issue on the November ballot.

"Our hope is the Board of Canvassers will follow the recommendation of the staff," said Greg Bowens, spokesman for Stand Up For Democracy. "They have validated the signatures, said we have enough. In addition to that there were five challenges to the petition itself. Four of the challenges the state staff noted are beyond the purview of the Board of Canvassers."

However, while the signatures may be valid, the petitions passed around by the group do not have the required font size on them. The law says font size must be 14 point on such petitions handed to legislatures, regardless of type style.

Stand Up For Democracy said the petitions do not violate any font size rules and that they substantially adhere to the law.

Multiple sources have confirmed with Local 4 that's not the case. The petitions do violate the law because the font size is not 14.

Michigan Board of Canvassers has decision to make:

The Michigan Board of Canvassers can still approve the petitions and put the issue on the ballot despite the font size violation. That scenario is unlikely.

The Board of Canvassers may have a split vote -- two for and two against -- in which case the Supreme Court then decides what to do.

Moreover, the board can reject the petitions because of the font. In that case, it's assured Stand Up For Democracy will file a lawsuit.

The decision is expected to be made Thursday when the Board of Canvassers meets.

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