Linden lawmaker asks for progress on validating Unlock Michigan petitions

Mike Mueller wants the Secretary of State’s Office to validate signatures to repeal the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act
A Dickinson County voter signing name in support of repealing the Governor's Emergency powers.
A Dickinson County voter signing name in support of repealing the Governor's Emergency powers.(Remi Murrey)
Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 7:25 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - A Linden Republican is asking the Michigan Secretary of State to get started with counting signatures on the Unlock Michigan ballot initiative.

The group turned in 539,000 signatures on Oct. 2 seeking to repeal the Michigan’s Emergency Powers of the Governor Act passed in 1945. State Rep. Mike Muller sent a letter to Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson asking her to begin counting the signatures.

“The citizens of our state took it upon themselves to initiate the repeal through their own petition process so that it cannot be blocked by the governor – and it is critically important that the voices of the people are not silenced,” he said.

If just over 340,000 of the signatures turned in are deemed valid, the Republican-led Michigan Legislature will have a chance to repeal the 1945 law or put it on the ballot for a statewide vote.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used the law to make dozens of COVID-19 orders from March until Oct. 2, when the Michigan Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. The Legislature passed a bill last year to repeal the law, but Whitmer vetoed it in late December.

Benson said in October that her office wouldn’t be able to validate the petitions very quickly with the Nov. 3 general election coming up and the coronavirus pandemic limiting operations. Mueller told Benson in his letter that she can’t simply ignore the petitions.

“I understand your office has faced challenges with the ongoing pandemic, and that the recent election required your time and attention,” Mueller’s letter says. “However, we must also respect the will of the people, who overcame challenges to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures during the same pandemic.”

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