Activists submit signatures to put voting rights on the ballot in Michigan | Politics & Elections | Detroit

click to enlarge Polling station in Detroit. - STEVE NEAVLING

Steve Neavling

Polling station in Detroit.

Voting rights activists on Monday submitted nearly 670,000 signatures to trigger a ballot initiative in November that would create a constitutional amendment to protect and expand access to the polls.

Promote the Vote calls for nine days of early voting, secure drop boxes, ballot tracking, public funding for postage on absentee ballots, and additional time for military and overseas voters to return their absentee ballots. The initiative would also allow voters to request an absentee ballot for all future elections.

To appear on the ballot, the initiative must get more than 425,000 valid signatures from registered voters.

“The Promote the Vote 2022 campaign is extremely grateful to our team of partner organizations who worked tirelessly to gather signatures from every corner of our state,” Michael Davis, executive director of Promote the Vote, said. “Michiganders demand and deserve to know they can vote safely, securely and conveniently, and we are already building momentum for the months leading up to the November General Election.”

A Republican initiative, Secure MI Vote, would have made it more difficult to vote, but the group failed to collect enough signatures to place the initiative on the ballot.

Republicans have tried to chip away at voting rights by falsely claiming there was widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed efforts by the GOP-led Legislature to restrict voting access.

Monday was a victory for voting rights advocates.

“Promote the Vote 2022 provides nonpartisan solutions to make sure every eligible voter has the opportunity to exercise their right to vote, and that’s why the League of Women Voters of Michigan and our volunteers worked so diligently to collect signatures,” Christina Schlitt, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan, said. “We’re excited to deliver hundreds of thousands of signatures from Michigan voters who want a guarantee that their voices are heard, their votes counted and no one is left behind.”

Also on Monday, a coalition of abortion rights activists turned in more than 753,000 signatures to force a ballot initiate that would amend the state’s constitution to affirm abortion rights — the most signatures ever gathered for a ballot initiative in Michigan history.

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