Advance Notice: Briefs

State finds more invalid signatures after 2nd review of LGBTQ rights group petition

By: - July 23, 2021 1:43 pm

Susan J. Demas

After the Bureau of Elections (BOE) did a second review of the signatures submitted by Fair and Equal Michigan, the group behind the ballot drive to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people, the consensus is that there is still not enough valid signatures to make it on to the 2022 ballot. 

However, the campaign, which aims to ban discrimination in jobs and housing for LGBTQ Michiganders by expanding Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to include sexual orientation and gender identity, holds strong that the BOE’s review is “extremely flawed.”

“The documentation our campaign filed to the Board of [State] Canvassers makes clear that we have more than enough signatures for our campaign to move forward and finally secure equal rights for LGBTQ people in this state,” said Fair and Equal Michigan spokesperson Josh Hovey. 

After a second review of the sample of 502 signatures, it is estimated that the petition contains 263,460 valid signatures, which is 76,587 signatures fewer than the minimum number required. 

This sets Fair and Equal Michigan farther back than they were after the first review which estimated that the campaign was 41,104 signatures short. 

The random sample result from the second review also indicates that Fair and Equal Michigan is 73 sampled signatures short of the minimum number required to draw another sample, according to the report. 

Earlier this month, The Board of State Canvassers delayed action on the Fair and Equal Michigan petition because challengers of the effort had submitted additional filings that could not be considered in time. 

At that meeting, the board instructed the BOE staff to do the second review before the next board meeting on Monday. 

Whether or not Fair and Equal Michigan will file a lawsuit “is to be determined,” Hovey said. 

“We have to see what the Bard of [State] Canvassers does next week. But we’re prepared to challenge this in court to make sure that people who signed our initiative are not disenfranchised and that we secure equal rights for LGBTQ people in the state,” he said. 

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.