Michigan collective bargaining measure headed to court after elections board deadlocks again+

by Laura Clawson

(Aug 15) Michigan’s elections system continues its dysfunction. The State Board of Canvassers has once again deadlocked along partisan lines, this time on whether to allow the proposed ballot initiative to guarantee collective bargaining rights onto the November ballot.

Previously, the Board of Canvassers deadlocked, also on partisan lines, on whether the font size in a measure to repeal the state’s Emergency Manager law. The state Supreme Court subsequently ordered that question onto the ballot. And it’s to the Michigan Supreme Court that the collective bargaining question is headed:

Andrew Nickelhoff, a Detroit attorney representing Protect Our Jobs, said after the meeting in the Capitol he was going straight to the Michigan Supreme Court about two blocks a way to file a legal action requesting the court to order the board to certify the ballot measure. He acknowledged his group faces “a tight timetable” because elections officials say they need the issue resolved by Aug. 27 to have time to prepare and print the ballots. That’s one reason the group wants to bypass the Michigan Court of Appeals and go straight to the Supreme Court.

Opponents of the collective bargaining rights initiative really just oppose collective bargaining rights, of course, but claim that the initiative would amend a lot of laws and therefore isn’t acceptable. As David Nir writes:

That’s certainly a cute dodge: If the legislature wants to prevent citizens from voting new rights for themselves, all they have to do is pass a couple of laws that might some day be affected by a potential constitutional amendment and presto, they’ve made that impossible.

Emergency Manager repeal got on the November ballot only because a Republican Supreme Court judge voted in part with Democrats; clearly, we can’t count on that happening again.

Laura Clawson is Labor Editor for Daily Kos, where this report originally appeared.

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