Friday, March 2, 2012

Michigan Emergency Manager Petitions Delivered

Michigan Emergency Manager Petitions Delivered

U.S. Congressional Candidate
Lance Enderle, (D- District 8)
In the afternoon of February 29, 2012 groups of people gathered together in Lansing, Michigan to deliver 50 boxes to the Great Seal of Michigan, Bureau of Elections, containing 24,167 sheets of petitions with 226,637 signatures to have Public Act 4 of 2011, Emergency Manager Law, put as a referendum vote on the ballot for the November election.

As a correction to the misconceptions of the petition drive,  spearheded by Michigan Forward, this effort was not to repeal the current Emergency Manager Law but an effort to allow the people to have a say in such a law that can remove elected officials from office, which many have considered, including U.S. Representative John Conyers, Jr. to be unconstitutional.

Brandon Jessup of Michigan Forward
at press conference 
As the petition boxes were being unloaded by the human assembly line of people from across the state, they chanted the cadence of "This is what democracy looks like",  Everyone worked in unison.  Everyone was excited to be part of Michigan history.

As the first load out of boxes made its way through the Bureau of Elections, everyone stood up from their desks to watch the peaceful and solemn procession of the democratic process.

Pontiac City Councilman Kermit Williams
waiting to deliver first load of
Once the first load made its way in the room which will warehouse the petitions during the certification process, the press piled in to interview Brandon Jessup of Michigan Forward who coordinated the statewide petition drive.  Pontiac City Councilman Kermit Williams ceremoniously assisted in the delivery of petitions.  He is just one of many elected officials who were removed from office after elections.

Delivery of the second load of petitions
As the second load of petitions made its way through the office, people started to come, not to just to witness but to be part of history.  Many of the participants had never been to Lansing and expressed their pride in being able to have a say in government.

Last load of petitions
The excitement of the delivery of the petitions was not limited to the hundred or so people who road on the bus from Detroit or the Occupy Flint and Lansing residents.  There was a bit of tension from security and staff of the Elections Bureau as it seems there were nasty rumors spread of protests in the office.

Detroit petition volunteer laughs with
Petition case manager Melissa
Instead, it turned out to be a small party.  Staff began warming up and speaking with some of the people who were experiencing their first trip to Lansing.  There were laughs and hugs, believe it or not.

There is a 60 day review with 15 day extension. The process of certification will consist of random sampling. The statisticalprogram used was designed by University of Michigan and Michigan State where it will select, by line and sheet, random signatures for verification and authenticity. Sample number to be reviewed is between 1500 to 3000.

Michigan Director of Elections
Chirs Thomas answering questions
According to Chris Thomas, Director of the Michigan Board of Elections, the necessary amount of signatures is based on 5 percent of the gubernatorial vote, which will make the total amount of petition signatures needed to put Public Act 4 of 2011 on the November 2012 ballot.

Brandon Jessup discussing final process
of petition delivery
Challenges will have the opportunity to come in and scan the petitions to challenge. Challengers mostly look for duplicate signatures but there are rumors that a challenging group will come in next week to start the process.  It is expected that the challenging entity will bring in graphologists and scrutinize each of the more than 220,000 signatures.  This will not be done at the expense of the taxpayers.

Certificate of delivery for petitions.
Last time there has been a petition drive of this magnitude was in 2008.

Once the petition is certified it will be taken to the Board of Canvassers which will then deliver to the Board of Petitions.

Michigan House of Representatives
recognizing petition coordinators
As most who had come to Lansing on the bus had a deadline to return, there was a few individuals left who made the procession to the House of Representatives.  Upon arriving, the House formally recognized the deliverers of the petitions.

Brendon Jessup of Michigan Forward
at Capitol
From there Brandon Jessup of Michigan Forward proceeded to interact with elected officials to discuss going forward with the referendum.

Certain elected officials shared that the state, in hindsight, is reluctant to have an emergency manager for Detroit as it would affect the overall bond rating for the state.  Along with the fact that many Republican majority states are frowning about government intervention and the pending opinion of the U.S. Attorney General on the constitutionality of removing elected officials from office, there will not be any action too soon.

Response from Michigan Secretary of State to Michigan Congressional Members on Emergency Manager Petition S...

Learn more: BEVERLY TRAN: Michigan Emergency Manager Petitions Delivered
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