Challenge: Abortion vote petition contains ‘nonsensical gibberish’

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A voting proposal that would enshrine reproductive freedoms, including abortion rights, in the Michigan constitution is being challenged, with opponents arguing that it contains “expanded passages of incomprehensible contention.”

organizer for Reproductive freedom for all to have 753,759 signatures submitted to the Office of the Michigan Secretary of State. If the state Electoral Bureau confirms that at least 425,059 are valid, the Suggestion would appear on the ballot in November.

Citizens in Support of MI Women and Children Has challenged the proposaland argued that the petitioners had removed spaces from the text approved by the polling station.

In a challenge filed in court on Thursday, the group argued the “removed spaces … would have eliminated dozens of words previously in the text and replaced them with a hodgepodge of nonsensical gibberish.”

Lawyers for the group argue that the allegedly removed spaces resulted in “the following nonsensical collection of letters” the petition seeks to incorporate into the state constitution, including “DECISIONS ON ALL MATTERS RELATED TO PREGNANCY” and “INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED CORRECT”.

She later describes the challenge as “nonsense; Letters converge meaninglessly and mean nothing.”

“You might as well staple a signature sheet to the alphabet strip that adorns the wall of every kindergarten, because the 26 letters on this cardboard universe contain every imaginable word that could be used to change the Constitution,” she argued.

The document argues that the language cannot be included in the constitution if it does not contain real words.

“The petition cannot add to the Michigan Constitution a nonsensical collection of letters that are not words found in any dictionary that cannot have any meaning and differ from the petition approved by this body,” argues the challenge.

She argued that there was no way to fix the alleged bug now except with a new proposal.

Genevieve Marnon is the Legislative Director of Right to Life of Michigan, which is part of the Citizens to Support MI Woman and Children coalition. She said there was no “cure” for the problem.

“This is a pretty egregious situation that cannot be cured legally or legally,” Marnon said. “You have no choice but to throw it away because those aren’t real English words.”

She explained that the Right to Life of Michigan petition sheets were discarded because a word was missing due to the way the paper had been folded.

“We’ve done more petitioning initiatives than any other single organization in the history of the state, so we know a thing or two about petitions,” Marnon said.

A Michigan Reproductive Freedom For All spokesman said in a statement he was confident they had met the requirements.

“We are confident that we meet all legal requirements for nominations. In fact, hundreds of thousands of Michiganders have spoken: More than 730,000 registered voters — a record number — have read, understood and signed the petition in support of reproductive freedom for all,” Darci McConnell, spokeswoman for Michigan Reproductive Freedom For All, said in a statement.

Richard Primus, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Michigan Law School, said he believed the amendment’s language could be cleaned up and that typographical issues would not cause legal problems.

“There is no reason to believe that anyone has not understood what the petition says,” said Primus. “As long as there have been constitutions in the United States, there have been typographical problems with things designed for constitutions.”

The Advertising Committee is scheduled to consider the petition at its August 31 meeting. Marnon said if the committee gets stuck, the matter will go to court. The board consists of two Democrats and two Republicans.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

https://www.woodtv.com/news/michigan/challenge-abortion-ballot-petition-includes-nonsensical-gibberish/ Challenge: Abortion vote petition contains 'nonsensical gibberish'

Dais Johnston

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