By DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press
DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Ballots to expand voting options, restrict payday loans, and overhaul Michigan’s citizens’ initiative process passed the stages ahead of the state board of elections on Friday, allowing organizers to start collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures to qualify for the 2022 ballot.
Canvassers have approved summaries to appear above five petitions for public distribution.
Promote the Vote wants to create more than a week of early voting, allow all voters to request an absentee ballot for future elections, and require prepaid postage on return envelopes. His constitutional amendment — proposed months after Republicans launched an anti-veto initiative that they said would improve the integrity of the election but which Democrats say would reduce the vote — would also ban attempts to weigh down “de unreasonably” the right to vote and enshrine the council’s duty to certify the results after Donald Trump’s unprecedented attempt to void the 2020 election.
Michiganders for Fair Lending hopes to reduce the interest rates payday lenders charge that must be repaid within two weeks. The ballot committee, like Promote the Vote, appears to have the financial backing to distribute the petitions widely.
Two proposals for constitutional amendments supported by MI’s voting rights also moved forward. One has similarities with the Promote the Vote measure. The other would allow more time to collect signatures for ballots, allow voter referendums on laws that spend money, and eliminate the Legislature’s ability to pass bills initiated without the governor’s signature. . Instead, the initiatives would go to voters as constitutional revisions already do.
The canvassers also approved the summary of a petition seeking to decriminalize the production and possession of psychedelic mushrooms.
In total, canvassers have approved summaries for a dozen active ballots in 2022 – including those that would raise the minimum wage, limit the duration of emergency pandemic restrictions without legislative approval and enshrine the right to abortion. in the state constitution.
Khalilah Spencer, chairman of the board of Promote the Vote, who successfully spearheaded a 2018 constitutional amendment that expanded absentee voting and allowed same-day registration, said: “We look forward to direct dialogue with Michigan voters about our Common Sense Voting Reform proposals. ”
The proposal would, among other things, keep intact the ability for voters to sign an affidavit if they do not have photo ID and the verification by clerks of absentee voters’ signatures to verify identity.
The Republican-affiliated Secure MI Vote wants to require additional information on mail-in ballot applications — such as the last four digits of a Social Security number or a copy of one’s photo ID — and require voters without a document ID to subsequently verify their identity for their vote. to count. Spokesman Jamie Roe said the Promote the Vote measure “is unnecessary, costly and harmful to election security.”
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