Michigan

Articles about voting issues in Michigan.

Michigan: Group pushing redistricting petition reports they’ve collected more than 200K signatures | MLive

A group petitioning for an independent redistricting commission in Michigan reports they’re more than halfway to the minimum required amount of signatures necessary for the 2018 ballot. The group Voters Not Politicians, which was approved as to form by the Board of State Canvassers Aug. 17, has collected more than 200,000 signatures so far, Voters Not Politicians president Katie Fahey said Wednesday. The group needs to collect 315,654 signatures in 180 days to get the proposal on the 2018 ballot, which must be turned in to state elections officials and verified by the Board of State Canvassers.  Read More

Michigan: Governor Unleashes “Citizens United on Steroids” | The Intercept

Less than six hours after its passage by the Republican-controlled state legislature, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law this week a measure that, effective immediately, allows candidates to raise unlimited sums of money for super PACs, which can then promptly spend that money supporting those candidates — or attacking their rivals. It also allows consultants to simultaneously work for a campaign and a super PAC at the same time, making a joke of the supposed independence of the two groups. It’s a brazen move for Snyder, who is term-limited out of office in 2018, to so fully embrace the post-Citizens United world dominated by big-money super PACs. Watchdogs warn that the law — which they have described as “Citizens United on steroids”— effectively creates an end-run around the state’s limits on campaign contributions and further obliterates the already-thin line that is supposed to maintain super PAC independence from candidates. That opens the door for the state’s wealthy donors to wield even more influence over the political system. Read More

Michigan: ‘Nonpartisan’ redistricting board has partisan ties | The Detroit News

A majority of leaders behind a “nonpartisan” plan to reform the Michigan redistricting process have supported partisan Democrats in the past, fueling criticism from a conservative group opposing the effort. Seven of 10 board members of the Voters Not Politicians petition committee have given at least a combined $5,649 to Democratic candidates and causes since 2005, according state and federal campaign finance records compiled by the Michigan Freedom Fund. None have given to Republicans or third-party candidates. The group’s “anti-gerrymandering” petition proposes amending the Michigan Constitution to create an independent citizen redistricting commission that would redraw legislative and congressional boundaries every 10 years. Read More

Michigan: Michigan Suffers From Some of the Most Extreme Gerrymandering in the Country | The Nation

Three days after Donald Trump’s election, Katie Fahey, a 28-year-old Michigander who works for a recycling nonprofit, sent a message into the Facebook ether, not knowing what might come of it. “I’d like to take on gerrymandering in Michigan,” she wrote. “If you’re interested in doing this as well, please let me know.” To her surprise, the message got shared, and shared, and shared some more. Pretty soon the Facebook post had turned into a Facebook group with a couple hundred supporters of all political persuasions from all over the state—lawyers and veterinarians, teachers and doctors, stay-at-home parents and accountants and mailmen. Google Docs and conference calls ensued, followed by fundraising and the formation of leadership committees. By early December, an ambitious statewide campaign to end gerrymandering in Michigan had emerged, with Fahey at its helm. Read More

Michigan: Complaint claims state elections bureau illegally assisted redistricting group | MLive

A Republican strategist has filed a complaint against Michigan’s Bureau of Elections alleging state officials acted improperly when advising the group pushing for an independent redistricting commission on the 2018 ballot. Robert LaBrant, who currently serves as counsel for the Lansing-based Sterling Corporation, submitted the complaint Thursday. He wrote the bureau’s review of the petition language submitted by the group Voters Not Politicians was a “misplaced, over-zealous attempt at being customer friendly even though the service the bureau provided VNP is illegal.”  Read More

Michigan: State panel gives OK to ballot petition aimed at ending gerrymandering | Detroit Free Press

Voters Not Politicians wants to change the state constitution to create an independent citizen commission to draw political lines, taking the role away from the Legislature. The group would have to collect close to 316,000 valid signatures to get the proposed constitutional amendment on the November 2018 ballot. The proposal would establish a 13-member independent citizens commission on which independent voters would have five members, and the two major parties would each have four. The commission is expected to cost at least an extra $5.5 million a year, based on a formula by which an amount equal to 25% of the current budget of the Michigan Secretary of State would be appropriated to support its work, said James Lancaster, a Lansing attorney representing Voters Not Politicians. The money to support the commission would be in addition to what the Secretary of State’s Office now spends, he said. Read More

Michigan: Judge: Detroit absentee ballots from primary will stand | The Detroit News

A Wayne County Circuit judge on Tuesday denied an election challenger’s request to have all city absentee ballots from the August primary thrown out, saying there’s no evidence to justify the move and doing so would “disenfranchise” voters. Chief circuit Judge Robert Colombo Jr., following an hour-long discussion in his courtroom, said he would not grant Detroit resident Anita Belle’s request to invalidate the Aug. 8 absentee ballots on claims they were tainted. Colombo said he would not throw out the city’s absentee ballots or enter an injunction to prevent the Detroit Election Commission from using the results “when there is no evidence there was a problem with absentee ballots.” Read More

Michigan: Anti-gerrymandering petition set for review | The Detroit News

A Michigan petition aimed at preventing political gerrymandering will go before the Board of State Canvassers on Thursday, when potential approval could end a delay that cost organizers more than a month of prime summer signature-gathering time. The “Voters Not Politicians” petition proposes creating an independent citizen redistricting commission to redraw legislative and congressional boundaries every 10 years, a task currently controlled by the Michigan Legislature. Organizers submitted language on June 28, prompting Bureau of Elections staff to review what critics are calling an overly complicated proposal to amend the Michigan Constitution. The small-print proposal spans seven pages and would alter or repeal several sections of the state’s primary governing document. Read More

Michigan: Republicans fight subpoenas in straight-ticket lawsuit | The Detroit News

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof and other Republican legislators are fighting subpoenas that could force them to testify and expose internal debate over a controversial law to ban straight-ticket voting. The legal drama is unfolding more than a year after a federal judge first suspended the straight-ticket ban in the run-up to the 2016 election, ruling the change could disproportionally burden African-American voters and limit their opportunity to participate in the state’s political process. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office are fighting to implement the ban ahead of the 2018 election cycle, arguing it would neutrally apply to voters of all races. The case is scheduled to go to trial in late December. Read More

Michigan: Six months later, AG probe into double voting drags on | The Detroit News

A prosecutorial probe is continuing six months after state election officials referred 31 cases of potential double voting to Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office in an effort to root out voter fraud. A statewide audit released in February found that 31 Michiganians appeared to vote twice in the November presidential election — once by absentee ballot and once in person on Election Day. The discoveries led then-state Elections Director Chris Thomas to refer the cases to Attorney General’s office for the first time in at least 36 years. Thomas told reporters in February it was part of a “far-reaching” anti-fraud effort to “aggressively root out illegal voting” after the state’s investigation into voting irregularities in Detroit found mismatched vote totals in the Nov. 8 election. Half a year later, Schuette’s office is still looking into the cases and has no updates on the investigation, said spokeswoman Andrea Bitely. Read More