(Source: MIRS.news, Published 06/01/2022) The two Let MI Kids Learn, Secure MI Vote, and One Fair Wage citizens-back initiatives announced the campaigns have enough petition signatures, but will not turn in the signatures today, which is the deadline for 2022.
Instead, they will turn in signatures after June 1 and hope the Bureau of Elections gets around to verifying the signatures before the Republican House and Senate adjourn for the year.
Fred Wszolek said the Let MI Kids Learn petition campaign will continue collecting signatures beyond June 1 because he said the date is only for people trying to get on the 2022 ballot, and the initiative would be passed by the Legislature.
“We’re interested in achieving transformational change to Michigan’s education system and putting the needs of students and families first. We’re going to be patient in achieving our goals because the stakes for our children are so high,” he said.
By filing after June 1, however, the Bureau of Elections is not under any obligation to verify the signatures immediately. If the Legislature, theoretically, doesn’t approve Secure MI Vote, it would appear on the 2024 ballot, not the 2022 ballot.
This moves verifying these signatures to the bottom of the to-do list for the Bureau of Elections.
Wszolek said the campaign is padding out its signatures to withstand any challenges against the campaign.
He also wasn’t worried about the signatures being canvassed by the Bureau of Elections and said the petitions could be looked at later this year after the constitutional amendment petitions.
He also said the campaign wasn’t a victim of the alleged fraudulent circulators that hit the five gubernatorial candidates.
“We were victims of winter. It was a really, long hard winter,” Wszolek said.
The $15 minimum wage ballot measure also did not file for the 2022 ballot deadline and Raise the Wage plan to submit its collected signatures to appear in 2024.
One Fair Wage President Saru Jayaraman said the campaign has collected nearly 500,000 signatures, but nearly 460,000 were paid.
“Out of an abundance of caution in the wake of the Michigan Supreme Court’s determination that a group of independent contractors responsible for collecting signatures were fraudulent, the Raise the Wage Michigan campaign has decided to withhold our submissions,” Jayaraman said.
She said the petition would mobilize voters who would turn out to the polls in 2024.
“Make no mistake – a $15 minimum wage will be on the 2024 ballot, and 1 million workers in Michigan will still get the same wage increase, ultimately by the same year – bringing non-tipped workers to $15 per hour by 2027 and tipped workers to the same level by 2028,” she said.
The Secure MI Vote petition drive did not deliver the 435,000 signatures it has collected to the state today, but will continue the petition drive to provide a “bigger cushion” to guard against the fly-specking it expects from the opposition.
With 340,047 valid signatures needed in order to ask the Legislature to approve new voting requirements, spokesperson Jamie Roe said taking more time to get additional signatures will help to bulletproof the effort from that scrutiny and make up for about 100,000 signatures they found that could possibly be fraudulent.
There was an 11th hour internal debate on whether to file, with the decision finally being made about 40 minutes before the scheduled 2:30 p.m. new conference.
“Some of us wanted to file today,” Roe said. “But the fact of the matter is we don't want to put people's work to waste on something that is very important to a lot of people in the state.”
Secure MI Vote will lose some signatures by readjusting the 180-day clock for collecting names, but Roe said the early names were collected “In the dead of winter.”
“The names are now coming in at a faster pace,” Roe said.
The Secure MI Vote petition drive was a Republican Party-led effort to mandate the showing of ID at the polls, among other initiatives designed to tighten security at Michigan’s polling locations.
“I'm pretty sure we will file before the constitutional amendments filing,” Roe said.
If and when the state certifies the signatures, he says he is confident the Legislature will enact these election process changes notwithstanding the Governor’s objections.
For those looking for fraudulent signatures on these petitions, Roe reported his group found 15,000 of those names and weeded them out. They are not included in the 435,000 signatures they have on hand now.
“Fraud should not be tolerated in any way, shape or form in our election process,” Roe said. “That's why it is our intention to take the petitions we believe are fraudulent and turn them over to law enforcement.”
This Liberty and Justice For All, the ballot initiative designed to give prisoners back credits for good behavior in prison - backed by Michigan United - also did not meet the deadline.
Michigan United said it would be sending a response, but had not before deadline.