The Michigan Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that a constitutional amendment seeking to completely overhaul the state’s election laws can appear on the ballot this November.
In a 5-2 decision, the high court ruled that the Michigan Board of Canvassers must certify the petition presented to the board by the left-wing group, Promote The Vote (PTV), “as sufficient for placement on the November 8 general election ballot.”
The Democrat-aligned groups involved with Promote The Vote’s ballot initiative include ACLU Michigan and The League of Women Voters Michigan, among others.
“It is undisputed that there are sufficient signatures to warrant certification. The only challenge to the petition was that it failed to include all the constitutional provisions that would be abrogated by the proposed amendments,” the court ruled. “We disagree. Instead, we conclude that the proposed amendments would not abrogate any of the constitutional provisions identified by the challenger. The Board thus has a clear legal duty to certify the petition.”
The Thursday ruling affirming the measure was comprised of the court’s four Democrat-appointed justices and one Republican-appointed justice, with the remaining two Republican appointees dissenting.
Last week, the proposed amendment was thought to be dead after the Board of Canvassers got deadlocked in a 2-2 vote on whether to place it on the ballot for the upcoming 2022 midterms, with the board’s two Republicans siding “with a wording-related challenge from opposition group Defend Your Vote.”
“[Defend Your Vote] argued PTV’s petition language did not list everything in the constitution it would change or cancel – or in legal terms, ‘alter and abrogate,'” a local Michigan news outlet reported.
If Michigan voters pass the initiative this fall, the proposed constitutional amendment would completely overhaul the state’s election laws. Among the changes are requiring state-funded “absentee ballot drop boxes” and “postage for applications and ballots,” allowing for private “donations to fund elections,” and providing voters with a “right” to fill out a single absentee ballot application “to vote absentee in all [future] elections.” This would keep mass mail-in balloting, the least secure form of elections, in place after such measures caused a chaotic 2020 election.
The proposed initiative also seeks to empower Michigan’s secretary of state in auditing election results. If approved by voters come November, the provision would mandate that only the secretary of state “shall conduct election audits,” while simultaneously prohibiting any “officer or member of the governing body of a national, state, or local political party, and no political party precinct delegate, [from having] any role in the direction, supervision, or conduct of an election audit.”
Michigan’s current secretary of state, Democrat Jocelyn Benson, has made headlines recently after a U.S. district court judge denied her attempts to dismiss a lawsuit by the Public Interest Legal Foundation’s (PILF) over Benson’s “failure to remove dead registrants from the state’s voter rolls.”
Shawn Fleetwood is a Staff Writer for The Federalist and a graduate of the University of Mary Washington. He also serves as a state content writer for Convention of States Action and his work has been featured in numerous outlets, including RealClearPolitics, RealClearHealth, and Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnFleetwood
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