Our quest to ban fracking and frack wastes in Michigan has been, and still is, a long journey.
The Michigan Court of Appeals did not act in time for us to be on the 2020 ballot, and the State of Michigan's AG office representing Board of State Canvassers has been fighting us tooth and nail. We await a court decision. After a win in court, our signatures would count now toward the 2022 ballot.
We invite you to join our campaign. We need to build our volunteer base and spread the word about our campaign.
On July 6, 2020, the Committee sued in the Michigan Court of Claims to challenge the election law restricting signature-gathering to 180-days, after the Michigan Supreme Court last week declined on July 2 to rule on the earlier suit. The Committee also moved for an injunction to ensure the Board of State Canvassers complete their work by July 26, in order to qualify for the 2020 ballot.
As of September 18, the Court has still not decided the case, keeping us off the ballot in 2020.
See our Lawsuit page.
On June 10, 2020 the Committee sued in the Michigan Supreme Court to appeal the Board of Canvassers' decision and challenge the constitutionality of the 180-day signature-gathering law. The court declined to rule on the case, bringing the Committee to get back to the Court of Claims.
On June 8, 2020, the Board of State Canvassers certified our petition as "insufficient" because of MCL 168.472a, the 180-day signature gathering law. This decision, unnecessarily delayed for weeks and weeks, allowed us to challenge that decision and the unconstitutionality of the law in the Michigan Supreme Court.
On April 2, 2020, we WON our lawsuit (over the front of the petition) in the Michigan Court of Appeals! Finally, after some delay by the State, we delivered our signatures to the Secretary of State's office in Lansing on May 1.
See the court decision here.
We concluded our signature-gathering phase and tendered 271,021 signatures* on Monday, November 5, 2018. A truly amazing feat accomplished by hundreds of volunteers over a 3-year period.
On that day we brought our 47 boxes to the State of Michigan Bureau of Elections for filing for the 2020 election. To our astonishment, the Director of Elections rejected the filing without even taking possession of the boxes. This action brought us to a second legal phase of the campaign.
The very next day, we sued the Director of Elections and Secretary of State on Tuesday, Election Day in the Michigan Court of Appeals, asking the court for immediate same-day consideration, but the court took no action. We put the boxes of signatures into secure storage with a records management company, and amended the complaint asking the court to compel the Bureau to take possession of the signatures as they should have on November 5, consider that action a "filing," and begin canvassing, which by law only the Board of State Canvassers can do. This suit was thrown out without explanation by the court.
We sued again, this time in the Court of Claims, in late December 2018. The lower court decided against us in summer 2019, saying that even though it was not required by law that we put any election date on the front of the petition, because we did, it mattered.
When we sued in 2016, to get a declaratory ruling on the unconstitutionality of the statute restricting signature-gathering to 180 days, the defendants had said in court, and the court agreed, that "if and when Plaintiffs [the Committee to Ban Fracking] obtain additional signatures they require, then they would be able to file their petition." When we did exactly that on November 5, 2018, their rejection was a stunning reversal.
Our victory in the Court of Appeals proved that the date on the front of the petition does not determine the election the proposal is to be voted on. The Court also agreed with us that we filed timely for the 2020 election. The Court ruled: "Because the Director wrongly refused to accept the filing, the petition must be treated as having been filed on that day. To hold otherwise would punish petition sponsors and the electorate for unlawful actions taken by election officials. Thus, the petition must be treated as having been filed on November 5, 2018."
See our LAWSUIT MENU for all the filings and decisions.
* We estimated that we turned in 270,962 signatures, but after the Bureau of Elections counted, they confirmed 271,021.