Michigan board: Take 2nd look at anti-abortion signatures

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s elections board on Thursday ordered the state to take a second look at whether an anti-abortion group collected enough signatures to put before the Republican-led Legislature veto-proof legislation to ban a second-trimester procedure.

Bureau of Elections staff determined this week that a sample showed not enough signatures were gathered. The bipartisan Board of State Canvassers unanimously directed that they pull a larger sample.

Michigan Values Life needs roughly 340,000 valid voter signatures to qualify but, according to the bureau, was nearly 7,300 short due to duplicates, errors and other issues. It had submitted about 380,000 signatures.

The group’s lawyer contended that too many petition sheets were incorrectly removed before the sample was drawn.

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“We certainly have a means to undertake another sample to ensure greater certainty and balancing the risk that over 380,000 citizens will be disenfranchised vs. the minimal burden for the Bureau of Elections to resample,” said Eric Doster.

Right to Life of Michigan, the main organizer of the initiated bill, wants to ban dilation and evacuation — which it refers to as “dismemberment.” Abortion-rights advocates say the procedure is safe and physicians should not face prosecution for using it.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has vowed to veto identical legislation that Republicans proposed as normal bills. But under the state constitution, a governor’s veto or veto threat can effectively be bypassed through the initiative process.

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