By Laina G. Stebbins, Michigan Advance
Standing alongside dozens of boxes to represent the 669,972 citizen signatures delivered to the Michigan Secretary of State on Monday, Promote the Vote organizers and volunteers celebrated the coalition’s work and urged Michiganders to vote “yes” to the measure on the November ballot.
Thousands of volunteers for the coalition collected the nearly 670,000 signatures from all 83 Michigan counties, according to organizers — almost 250,000 more signatures than needed for the Monday deadline.
The Promote the Vote ballot measure seeks to implement reforms that they say would increase voting access for all Michiganders, ensure election integrity, expand early voting; minimize political interference from the state parties and more.
Nearly 30 partner organizations involved in the effort include Voters Not Politicians (VNP), League of Women Voters, NAACP Michigan State Conference, APIA Vote Michigan and Michigan Farmers Union.
“The Promote the Vote 2022 ballot initiative can help return power back to the people, where it belongs,” said Yvonne White, president of the NAACP Michigan State Conference.
Micheal Davis, executive director of Promote the Vote, said the measure will “ensure that no matter what party or candidates you support, where you live or what you look like, you know that your voice will be heard and that your vote will be counted.”
Organizers emphasized that they carefully reviewed signatures and made sure not to hire any volunteers who have been accused of signature fraud for GOP gubernatorial campaigns. They said that because of this, the coalition is not bracing for any legal challenges.
If the Michigan Bureau of Elections and Board of State Canvassers find that the Promote the Vote coalition has filed enough valid signatures, the question will go directly to the ballot for voters to decide in the November election.
Another highly anticipated signature drive, Reproductive Freedom for All (RFFA), announced earlier Monday that they have filed 753,759 signatures to enshrine abortion access in Michigan’s Constitution.
Both ballot drives surpassed the required number of signatures — 425,059, or 10% of the total votes cast in the 2018 gubernatorial election — by thousands of signatures.
Also on the November ballot is a constitutional amendment that would change the state’s legislative term limits law while also requiring annual financial disclosures from legislators and state officers.
That measure is a legislatively referred constitutional amendment, meaning that it was adopted by the Legislature to be placed on the ballot rather than through a volunteer-driven signature drive. Both chambers voted in May in favor of the amendment.
The Michigan Legislative Term Limits and Financial Disclosure Amendment would reduce the current system of term limits — three two-year House terms and two four-year Senate terms, for a maximum of 14 years — to a total of 12 years, while also allowing for six, two-year House terms, three, four-year Senate terms or a combination of the two.
Of the 15 states that have legislative term limits, Michigan is one of just six that have lifetime restrictions.