FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 21, 2018
Contact: Elizabeth Battiste
Voters Not Politicians asks court to require Board of State Canvassers take final actions on ballot wording by Aug. 31
Voters Not Politicians today filed a request for the Michigan Court of Appeals to require the Board of State Canvassers to meet by August 31 and approve the language stating the purpose of the proposal that will appear on the November 6 ballot.
“We turned in the signatures of more than 425,000 passionate supporters of redistricting reform on December 18 – more than 240 days ago. We proposed on Aug. 13 a clear statement of the purpose of the proposal to the Secretary of State’s office in unbiased language,” said Katie Fahey, executive director of Voters Not Politicians. “It’s time for the Board of State Canvassers to do its job, adopt our statement, and let the people of Michigan begin in earnest a discussion of the proposal. We need certainty to properly expand our campaign to end Michigan’s current rigged system where politicians go behind closed doors to draw districts to benefit them and lobbyists, and replace it with one putting citizens in charge, requiring complete transparency, and prohibiting maps that benefit any party or a politician.”
At present, the Board of State Canvassers is expected to meet on Sept. 6 and Sept. 7 to consider the ballot language – Sept. 7 is the last day under state law to approve the language that will appear on the November ballot – and there are a number of important issues stacked before the board. Some of those issues may result in lengthy presentations and discussions. A vote on language literally hours before the ballot deadline could limit the ability of Voters Not Politicians to use the legal system to address a possible deadlock of the board, or to challenge the wording of a summary should the board adopt improper language.
“The extensive agenda that faces the Board of State Canvassers, along with the possibility the board could deadlock, which has the effect of disapproving the language, is of deep concern,” said Fahey. “The Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court have both ordered that the Voters Not Politicians proposal appear on the November ballot. It’s time to get that job finished.”
The complaint for mandamus specifically asks the Appeals Court, pursuant to its earlier order, to direct the state’s director of elections to submit a 100-word statement of the purpose of the Voters Not Politicians proposal to the Board of State Canvassers for review and approval by Aug. 28. It also asks the court to require the Board by Aug. 31 to approve the statement and formally designate (as required by state law) the Voters Not Politicians proposal as Proposal 18-02.
Voters Not Politicians is a nonpartisan, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to passing Proposal 2, a state constitutional amendment to end partisan gerrymandering by taking politicians and lobbyists out of the redistricting process and putting Michigan citizens in charge. Learn more at www.votersnotpoliticians.com.