On Thursday, those in attendance at the Board of Canvassers session witnessed something that shocked and horrified all. The event at 10am was to officially certify the signatures submitted to repeal Public Act #4, also known as the "Dictator Act." The review of the process revealed that the appropriate number of valid signatures were indeed collected, some 40,000 more than was needed totaling 206,000 Michigan signatures from all parts of the State.
There were two Board members who were declared Democrats, and two who were declared Republicans for a total of four persons. The Tea Party sent a lawyer who argued that the "font size" of the declaratory portion of the petition was the wrong size therefore the signatures could not be certified. The issue is that in MCL/Michigan Compiled Law, the statute calls for a size 14 font to be used at the top of the petition that explains the rationale for the initiative. Then, it was "our turn."
Our atty. was brilliant as he went point-by-point to dismiss the Tea Party lawyer's allegation. Atty. Hank Sanders was brilliant as he discussed the font size challenge: depending on which print style you use, a size 14 font in one font style may be different in height from another, a fact. He introduced an engraver who reviewed the print size and validated that the print was a size 14, as did the other witness, the actual printer of the petitions who conclusively validated the size 14 font as a fact.
With all that being said, the first two Democrats recommended acceptance and certification as suggested by their staff. Both Republicans cited the conclusions of the Tea Party lawyer while they declared their need to follow the law -- both denying certification. The Board rules declare that three members must agree to pass anything, so a vote of two to two did not pass. Next step, court!
There were lovers of democracy in the room and they were all dismayed by this incredible breach of the right to vote played out. The room exploded with outrage with the voters not willing to calm themselves. The two Republican Board members left the room for a while, not willing to incur the people's wrath. So incredible was this obvious stalling tactic, that the most steeled among us were speechless. Those who thought righteousness was possible were stunned.
The question now is what to do about elected/appointed officials who act against us with no threat of repercussions. How do we interrupt their "business as usual" attitude and replace it with the fear of reprisals should we be betrayed?
What is the answer...
Maureen D. Taylor
State Chairperson - MI Welfare Rights Org.
P.S. This post was typed in a 14 pt font.