Four women casting votes in booths at polling station. (Image via Shutterstock)
Four women casting votes in booths at polling station. (Image via Shutterstock)

LANSING—A Michigan elections board decided Wednesday that a proposed constitutional amendment that would expand voting access didn’t qualify for the November ballot, leading the measure’s supporters to vow to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court before the General Election.

The proposed amendment to the state constitution would, among other changes:

  • require nine days of in-person early voting
  • require state-funded absentee ballot drop boxes
  • require state-funded postage for absentee ballots and applications
  • allow voters to verify their identity with a photo ID or a signed statement
  • allow voters to join a permanent list to have absentee ballots sent for every election.

The proposal comes as Republicans across the U.S. are pushing to tighten restrictions on voting, claiming without evidence that elections are wrought with fraud. That includes the 2020 election, when then-President Donald Trump lost Michigan and the presidency to Joe Biden.

The four-member Board of State Canvassers deadlocked along a 2-2 party-line vote, meaning the measure—at least for now—is not set to appear on the ballot on Nov. 8. But Promote the Vote 2022, the organization behind the proposed ballot initiative, has seven days to appeal the decision to the Democrat-leaning Michigan Supreme Court. The ballot must be finalized by Sept. 9.

The board’s two Democratic members said it should go before voters, while the two Republican members opposed it, saying some of the measure’s language was unclear. Promote the Vote 2022 said it was “extremely disappointed” with the decision—especially after submitting petitions with about 670,000 signatures, well over the roughly 425,000 names required to push the measure to the ballot.

“This is a disservice to the people of Michigan and is indicative of the obstructionist partisan politics that have taken over truly non-partisan issues like election reform and equal access to the ballot.”

Khalilah Spencer, board president for Promote the Vote 2022

‘Gander Editor Kyle Kaminski contributed to this report.