Voting and Voting on Payday Loans Advances | News, Sports, Jobs

DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Ballots to expand voting options, restrict payday loans, and overhaul Michigan’s citizens’ initiative process passed the stages ahead of the state board of elections on Friday, allowing organizers to start collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures to qualify for the 2022 ballot.

Canvassers have approved summaries to appear above five petitions for public distribution.

Promote the Vote wants to create more than a week of early voting, allow all voters to request an absentee ballot for future elections, and require prepaid postage on return envelopes. His constitutional amendment — proposed months after Republicans launched an anti-veto initiative that they said would improve the integrity of the election but which Democrats say would stifle the vote — would also ban attempts to “unreasonably” burdening the franchise and enshrining the council’s duty to certify the results after Donald Trump’s unprecedented attempt to cancel the 2020 election.

Michiganders for Fair Lending hopes to lower the interest rates payday lenders charge that must be repaid within two weeks. The ballot committee, like Promote the Vote, appears to have the financial backing to distribute the petitions widely.

Two proposals for constitutional amendments supported by MI’s voting rights also moved forward. One has similarities with the Promote the Vote measure. The other would allow more time to collect signatures for ballots, allow voter referendums on laws that spend money, and eliminate the Legislature’s ability to pass bills initiated without the governor’s signature. . Instead, the initiatives would go to voters as constitutional revisions already do.

The canvassers also approved the summary of a petition seeking to decriminalize the production and possession of psychedelic mushrooms.

In total, canvassers have approved summaries for a dozen active ballots in 2022 – including those that would raise the minimum wage, limit the duration of emergency pandemic restrictions without legislative approval and enshrine the right to abortion. in the state constitution.

Khalilah Spencer, chair of the board of Promote the Vote, who successfully spearheaded a 2018 constitutional amendment that expanded absentee voting and allowed same-day registration,

The Wisconsin Elections Commission asked the state High Court to extend its stay. Disability Rights Wisconsin, Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also requested an extension.

But the court said the Elections Commission had enough time after Tuesday’s primary to communicate with local poll clerks that drop boxes could not be used in the April 5 election. The commission is scheduled to meet on Wednesday to discuss implementation of the lower court’s order, agency spokesman Riley Vetterkind said.

Jeffrey Mandell, a lawyer for the interest groups seeking the stay, warned that the High Court’s decision would deprive elderly and disabled Wisconsin residents of safe voting methods.

Judge Brian Hagedorn, a conservative who sometimes sides with liberal justices, was again the deciding vote in the 4-3 decision. While he sided with the Liberals last month to grant the reprieve, on Friday he sided with the Conservatives.

“Again, a majority in this court makes it harder to vote,” Justice Ann Walsh Bradley wrote for the liberal minority. “With apparent disregard for the confusion it causes, the majority gives little warning to city clerks, changing procedures at the eleventh hour and applying different procedures to those that applied to the primary in the same election cycle. “

State law is silent on drop boxes, but Wisconsin’s bipartisan Election Commission has told local election officials they can be placed in multiple locations.

Wisconsin’s top election official said last year that at least 528 drop boxes were used by more than 430 communities in the presidential election.

The Elections Committee failed to reach a consensus last month on how to handle demands from Republican lawmakers to withdraw those guidelines or quickly issue formal rules that the legislature could then block.

That left the fight to be resolved in court.

The popularity of mail-in voting exploded during the pandemic in 2020, with over 40% of all voters voting by mail, a record high.

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