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petition drives

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Abortion rights opponents reached the halfway point in a petition drive to ban dilation and evacuation, or D&E abortions.

Michigan Values Life includes Right to Life of Michigan and some churches. The group says it has collected more than 200,000 signatures toward its goal of 400,000. Officials say the count does not include signatures thought to be invalid.

someone writing on a ballot
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Today on Stateside, we talk to Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) about what she’s seen during a trip to the U.S.—Mexico border. Plus, a look at what it takes to turn a petition drive into a question on the ballot in Michigan. 

sign that says "vote here"
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A state elections board is going to work on new rules to govern petition drives that want to get issues before the Legislature or on a ballot.

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers faces a complicated situation. Last year, Republicans in the Legislature adopted a law to make it harder for petition drives to succeed. Earlier this year, Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a formal opinion. It strikes down much of what Republicans enacted. Republicans are now challenging that opinion in court.

Do you have a right to have your name counted when you sign a petition? Or, can it be thrown out on a technicality that has nothing to do with you?

There are two recent instances in Michigan where, although signatures on a petition were collected, it’s unclear whether those signatures will actually be counted.

We could see the most dramatic change to Michigan politics since term limits. This afternoon, an all-volunteer group is one step closer to overhauling how redistricting is done in Michigan.

person writing on paper
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Organizers of a ballot drive want voters to decide if Michigan should have a part-time legislature.

And they're making a push for signatures to get it on the 2018 ballot.

It is petition signing time in Michigan.

When you go vote tomorrow it is very likely that you will be greeted by a petition circulator.

These circulators look for registered voters because they need to submit enough signatures to the state in order to quality for next year’s ballot. Maybe you’ve already met folks trying to get you to sign onto a petition regarding marijuana legalization, redistricting, or whether Lansing should move to a part-time Legislature.

David Daley's book "Ratf**ked"
Liveright, 2017


If they know what it is, most people despise gerrymandering, the practice of drawing legislative or congressional districts largely based on partisan advantage. It’s hated, unless it's your party that's benefiting.

Last year, Stateside talked with David Daley, a former editor-in-chief of Salon and the author of Ratf**ked:Why Your Vote Doesn't Count, a book that deals with this very issue. Stateside​ host Lester Graham caught up with him to discuss the second edition's new epilogue on the 2016 election.

Signatures are collected for the MI Legalize campaign.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

As a citizen, you have a right to petition the government for redress of grievances. At the state level, that right and the right to put referenda on the ballot can be restricted or, in some cases, circumvented.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

The future is cloudy for groups fighting to get those marijuana and anti-fracking proposals on the November ballot in Michigan.

The House last week gave final approval to Senate Bill 776, which sets a strict 180-day window for groups to collect signatures on ballot initiatives and constitutional amendment petitions. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers are pushing to require that all signatures for a statewide ballot initiative be collected within a six-month period.

  The move could stymie pro-marijuana and anti-fracking activists from potentially receiving more time thanks to improved technology.

  Legislation approved along party lines by the Republican-controlled Senate would mandate that a voter signature for a constitutional amendment or initiated bill not count if it's written more than 180 days before the petition is filed. The bill is pending in the House.

The group "Keep Michigan Wolves Protected" gathers signatures.
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected / Facebook

A coalition of activist groups is trying to make an issue of the Legislature passing laws to bypass petition drives and ballot measures.

The groups say Republicans at the state Capitol have circumvented voters on questions including the emergency manager law, the minimum wage, and wolf hunting. In each of those cases, the Legislature passed laws that ran contrary to the results of an election or a petition drive.

Danielle Atkinson is with the campaign to increase the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. She says the Legislature acted legally, but violated the spirit of the Michigan Constitution’s power to use the ballot to initiate or challenge laws.

“This is not what the drafters of the state constitution intended when they gave people the right to petition their government.”