The pro-abortion Reproductive Freedom for All ballot initiative was not approved by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers on Wednesday.
The board deadlocked 2-2 along party lines, with the Republican members objecting to some words on the petition summary being too close together.
Republican – and board chair – Tony Daunt says that made the petition language gibberish to him.
“If what was circulated had come to us for review, it would not have received approval because of the severe defect in the spacing and in the form of the language as it was laid out,” Daunt says.
Proponents for the Reproductive Freedom for All campaign argued that the Board of State Canvassers didn’t have the authority to deny putting the measure before voters due to word spacing issues.
In a similar split, the Promote the Vote campaign to enhance voting rights and make it easier to vote absentee was denied by the board’s Republicans. The claim was that wording on the petition, which had been previously approved, was unclear.
Ballot approval for the proposed constitutional amendments now shifts to the Michigan Supreme Court.
The Reproductive Freedom for All amendment proposes an explicit state constitutional right to abortions and would prevent any future enforcement of the 1931 state law criminalizing most abortions.
Photo Credit: Joey Cappelletti/AP