Press Release: November 9, 2018
November 9, 2018
Contact: LuAnne Kozma, Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan
231.944.8750 [email protected]
Matthew Erard, attorney for Committee to Ban Fracking, 248.765.1605 [email protected]
Ellis Boal, attorney for Committee to Ban Fracking, 231.944.8750, [email protected]
Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan sues after Bureau of Elections rejects voters' 270,962 signatures
Lansing, Michigan -- The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, a statewide ballot initiative campaign (www.letsbanfracking.org), sued in the Michigan Court of Appeals on Tuesday, November 6 after the Bureau of Elections rejected and refused possession of the grassroots group’s signatures filed on Monday. The 47 boxes contained approximately 51,980 sheets and 270,962 signatures, and were in plenty of time before before the next statewide election in 2020.
The Committee filed an amended and supplemented complaint on Thursday.
The group had been collecting beyond the statutory 180-day time period, after suing the election officials in 2016 and being assured by them in court that the Committee “would be able to file” the signatures after achieving the required number of signatures.
The Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court dismissal of the 2016 litigation on ripeness grounds, observing that the Committee was “continuing to collect signatures with the same petition sheets.”
The court noted the Committee had not yet “collected the required petition signatures, albeit during a timeframe outside the 180-day rule, filed those petitions at least 160 days before the election, had those petitions rejected as insufficient, and then had their ballot proposal denied.”
The election officials rejected the signatures because the petition referenced the 2016 election.
"This was a complete turnabout from what they assured the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan during our previous litigation,” said LuAnne Kozma, campaign director, adding “We did exactly what the court and the state told us we should do, and we did it timely before the 2020 election deadline.”
Matthew Erard, an attorney for the Committee, explained that “no provision of the Michigan Election Law nor the Secretary of State’s prescribed format for statutory initiative petitions requires or contemplates the inclusion of reference to any particular election in the language presented on the petition sheet.”
Erard also pointed out that the Bureau of Elections has no authority to determine the sufficiency of the petition on its own; only the Board of State Canvassers does: “The defendants have a clear legal duty to accept the filing of the plaintiff’s petition and refer it to the Board of State Canvassers pursuant to MCL 168.475.”
In the Committee’s amended and supplemented complaint, it asks the court to consider the tendering of signatures on November 5 as constituting a “filing” and order the State to take possession of the signatures.
At considerable expense, the Committee has secured a records storage company to hold the boxes securely until the litigation is resolved.
The Committee's legal filings are available at:
For more information about fracking in Michigan and the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan:
# # #