Michigan Board of State Canvassers certifies abortion and voting rights proposals for ballot

A state canvassing board approved putting measures relating to abortion and voting rights on the November ballot Friday.

After a state Supreme Court ruling ordered the Board of State Canvassers to certify both petitions, two 4-0 votes were cast during a morning meeting. It was the final procedural hurdle the two proposals needed to overcome before they could be approved for the ballot.

The deadline for certified ballot proposals was Sept. 9.

With the board's vote, three ballot proposals have cleared signature and language hurdles that permit them to be voted on by the state electorate. Along with themes of abortion and voting rights, a third ballot proposal will increase term limits in the state legislature.

With less than two months until the 2022 Midterms, voters can expect the debate over abortion to dominate much of the election season. Both sides of the proposed amendment are prepared to dig in as they battle for votes.

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Beyond just getting abortion on the ballot, Democrats believe the significance of the issue will be key to driving turnout to the polls in November.  

The Michigan high court voted 5-2 in favor of allowing the abortion proposal on the ballot, with one Republican justice voting with the four Democrats on the court. Both Republican Justices David Viviano and Brian Zahra dissented in the opinions for both the abortion and voting rights amendments.

Here's what each ballot proposal would do:

Michigan Right to Reproductive Freedom

Under the legal abortion bills' language, the right to an abortion would become a constitutionally-protected practice.

"Reproductive freedom" as its phrased is defined as "the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including but not limited to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care."

Michigan Right to Vote initiative

Among the rights that would be expanded include laws governing when absentee ballots can be dropped off, if unsolicited ballot applications can be received unsolicited, and guaranteeing the right to vote with a photo ID, signed affidavit, or matching voter registration signatures.

The state would also be required to make more absentee ballot drop boxes available. 

Voters for Transparency and Term Limits

Currently, state legislators are permitted to serve three 2-year terms in the state house and two 4-year terms in the state Senate.

Under the new bill, term limits for lawmakers would be expanded to 12 combined years in the legislature. Also under the proposal, elected lawmakers and executive officials in the state must file annual financial disclosure reports on their income, assets, liabilities, gifts from lobbyists, positions, held in some groups, and any other agreements on future employment.