A group seeking to legalize marijuana in Michigan submitted an “insufficient” number of valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot after collecting outside of a traditional 180-day window, state elections officials said Tuesday.
In a staff report, the Bureau of Elections recommended the Board of State Canvassers reject the MI Legalize petition at its Thursday meeting.
The activist-led group last week submitted an estimated 354,000 signatures, more than the 252,523 required to make the ballot, but the bureau said only 146,413 were collected within 180 days of the filing. State law, updated Tuesday to tighten that window, had treated older signatures as “stale and void.”
Reviewing petition signatures can often take the bureau at least 60 days, but Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams said the identification of old signatures sped up the process, which would have otherwise involved testing a sample for validity.
The speedy review could actually benefit MI Legalize, according to executive director Jeff Hank, who said the group plans to sue the state for ballot access. He argues the 180-day signature window is unconstitutional and that the current policy for rehabilitating older signatures makes the task impossible. [Read more at the Detroit News]