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In Michigan, Democracy Loses to a Technicality

by Clyde Weiss  |  April 27, 2012

Emergency Manager LawRepublican opponents of democracy in Michigan have pulled a fast one. In their zeal to allow unelected officials to nullify public workers’ collective bargaining agreements, they managed this week to derail a referendum that would have allowed voters to decide if this law should stand.

How they did this is outrageous. Just two members of the Board of State Canvassers (both Republicans) decided that the petitions circulated by Stand Up for Democracy, a coalition of community groups, churches and labor organizations throughout Michigan – used the wrong font size on the petition titles.

That means that although 203,238 voters signed petitions to call for a vote – 40,000 more than necessary – just two people with an overzealous love of print style (and an absolute disregard for democracy) were able to thwart the will of the public.

AFSCME members and our allies will continue to fight for workers' rights and basic democratic principles in the Great Lakes State. We will challenge the canvassing board's ruling and attempt to get the courts to order the citizens' veto onto the state ballot in November.

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