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Following a settlement with tribes, SD phases In voting-access reforms; older voters: formidable factor in Maine gubernatorial race; walking: a simple way to boost heart health.


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MI Voting, Reproductive Freedom Ballot Campaigns Submit Signatures


Tuesday, July 12, 2022   

Two constitutional amendment campaigns submitted signatures Monday to qualify to appear on the November ballot, one called "Promote the Vote 2022" and another called "Reproductive Freedom For All."

The first would expand early voting and drop boxes, protect against voter intimidation, improve absentee ballot tracking and other steps to modernize elections administration.

Michael Davis Jr., executive director of Promote the Vote, said the goal is to ensure no matter what party or candidate someone supports, where they live or what they look like, their voice will be heard, and their vote will be counted.

"What we know is that voters across Michigan want an election system that is secure and accessible," Davis asserted. "The common-sense provisions in Promote the Vote 2022 do just that."

Organizers of Promote the Vote 2022 delivered nearly 670,000 signatures to the Secretary of State's Office. Opponents argued such policies lead to voter fraud, but there is little evidence to support the claims.

The Reproductive Freedom for All initiative submitted more than 753,000 signatures. If approved by voters, it would guarantee a person's right to make their own decisions about abortion and other facets of reproductive care.

Michigan does have a law from 1931 on the books banning abortion, but it is currently blocked by a court injunction.

Renee Chelian, president and CEO of Northland Family Planning Centers, noted the need has become even more pressing since Roe v. Wade was overturned.

"People are outraged and angry, and then want to do something to take back this right," Chelian contended. "Many people who are unsure about abortion, or who even told us that they were anti-abortion, sign our petitions because they said this has gone too far."

The Michigan Legislature has taken no action on reproductive rights, despite opinion polls showing a majority of the state's voters support the right to an abortion.

Advocates for the amendment cite Michigan's gerrymandered districts, which tend to favor Republicans, as one reason and hope the new maps drawn by an independent commission to be used this year for the first time will lead to more competition and fairness in Lansing.

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