Lawsuit Filed Challenging Disqualification of Pro-Voting Initiative From Michigan Ballot

UPDATE: On Thursday, Sept. 8, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered the Michigan Board of State Canvassers to put the Promote the Vote 2022 proposal back on the ballot.

After noting that it’s “undisputed that there are sufficient signatures to warrant certification,” the majority held that the initiative’s disqualification, which was based on the board’s conclusion that the initiative failed to note how its adoption would amend the Michigan Constitution, was improper.

In a concurring opinion, Chief Justice Bridget McCormack notes that the board’s failure to include the proposal on the ballot initially “seems to be disappointing evidence of the weakened state of our polity.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, Sept. 1, Promote the Vote 2022 (PTV22) — a Michigan-based organization advocating for a pro-voting ballot initiative that would amend the Michigan Constitution — filed a lawsuit in the Michigan Supreme Court challenging the Michigan Board of State Canvassers’ failure to certify the organization’s proposal to appear on the state’s ballot this November.

PTV22’s pro-voting proposals include provisions that would create nine days of early voting, ensure that absentee voting is accessible, provide for drop boxes and more.

On Aug. 18, a conservative group called Defend Your Vote leveraged a challenge seeking to block the certification of the ballot initiative “alleging that PTV22 failed to list five provisions of the Constitution that the Proposal would allegedly abrogate,” and urged the board to disqualify the amendment from the ballot. Despite the fact that over 664,000 signatures were gathered in support of the measure — nearly 200,000 more than the threshold required by Michigan state law to get an initiative on the ballot — the board disqualified the initiative after succumbing to partisan deadlock. 

In its lawsuit filed today, the plaintiff argues that the Michigan Board of State Canvassers violated the group’s right to due process under the Michigan Constitution by failing to approve their petition even though it had sufficient signatures. The plaintiffs request that the Michigan Supreme Court order the board to certify the petition by Sept. 9, the deadline by which the secretary of state must finalize and approve the contents of this fall’s ballots. 

Read the complaint here.

Learn more about the case here.