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Amendment campaign to continue collecting signatures electronically

Christin Hume

A petition campaign to expand Michigan’s civil rights law has gone digital as the coronavirus pandemic has shut down face-to-face signature gathering.

The Fair and Equal Michigan campaign wants to add protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The signature collection effort was halted by social-distancing orders to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Steven Liedel is an attorney for the ballot campaign. He says it’s already OK for voters to print and sign their name to a paper petition and mail it to the campaign.

“This is just digital version of that process that makes it easier for both the voter to do so and for the Fair and Equal Michigan campaign to process,” he said.

Liedel says electronic signatures are becoming a common way to handle transactions and legal agreements.

“If you apply for a mortgage, make an offer on a piece of property, seek a loan, enter into some other form of a contract, in many cases these days, you’ll be signing it electronically.” 

This will be the first time a Michigan petition campaign will try to file e-signatures. But Liedel there’s nothing in state election law that prohibits it.

The campaign needs to collect roughly 340,000 valid signatures by May 27 to get on the November ballot.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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