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Elections Board Starts Work On New Petition Rules

 Michigan capitol building at sunset
Amanda Pinckney
Michigan capitol building

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 an election ballot.  The board’s job is complicated by legal challenges.

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.

“And we’ll see what happens," said Julie Matuzak, a Democratic member of the board. “We’re all sort of working this out as we go.”

Matuzak and other board members say petition drive organizers deserve to know the rules before they start gathering signatures.

There are already at least two anti-abortion drives ramping up to start collecting names.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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