Desperation breeds desperate behavior
The Michigan Board of State Canvassers has cancelled a meeting scheduled for next Tuesday, June 26th. I confirmed this with a phone call this afternoon. Additionally, Republican Board member Jeff Timmer is rumored to have resigned and it is believed that the other Republican, Norm Shinkle, will resign as well, leaving the Board without a quorum. I have been unable to confirm Timmer's resignation but I have heard about it from multiple sources.
Without a quorum, the Board will be unable to certify ANY of the referendums headed for the ballot in November. They will need to wait until Governor Rick Snyder appoints replacements, a process that could take … oh, I don’t know … some time. Wouldn’t want to rush into it or anything, make a hasty decision and such.
The reasoning behind these dramatic moves is clear: to prevent the validation of the petitions to repeal Public Act 4 -- the Emergency Manager Law -- and the "Protect Our Jobs" petitions to place collective bargaining protections in the state constitution. A conservative group is asking our Republican Secretary of State to throw out the nearly 700,000 petition signatures on that referendum to subvert democracy in that way.
Any sort of delay like this increases the likelihood that the referendums will not be certified by the August 27th deadline for placing them on the ballot and reduces the amount of time proponents for the referendums have to get out the vote.
Taking steps this drastic betray the absolute terror conservatives have in Michigan at the moment. They are so desperate to hold onto their power and the gains they have made that they will literally interfere with and subvert the democratic processes to get their way.
This. Is. Shameful.
UPDATE: The resignation of Timmer has now been confirmed by the Detroit News. Their piece also quotes Shinkle as saying he will NOT resign. If that's the case, they still have a quorum and the Democrats have the majority. I remain HIGHLY skeptical that Shinkle will remain in his position. I can't imagine the Republicans simply giving up like this.
It's worth noting that, should Shinkle quit and force Snyder to appoint two new Board members, there are more than just the two ballot initiatives at stake. In addition to one that is anti-fracking and another making pot legal, both of which are questionable in terms of getting enough signatures by the deadline, we have five others that are very likely to get enough signatures:
- More Energy, More Jobs - raises the percentage of Michigan's energy required to be from renewables to 25% by 2025
- Citizens for Affordable Quality Home Care - provides home health care providers with limited collective bargaining among other things (another progressive referendum.)
- Citizens for More Michigan Jobs - expands the number of casinos in Michigan.
- The People Should Decide - requires a vote on using taxpayer money to build a new bridge between Michigan and Canada.
- Michigan Alliance for Prosperity - requires a 2/3 vote by both the House and the Senate to raise taxes.