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Elections board starts work on new petition rules

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A state elections board began working today Monday on new petition rules. The goal is to create standards for petition drives that comply with a recent legal opinion by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. 

The opinion invalidated many parts of a law adopted in last year’s “lame duck” session of the Legislature. The law would make it more difficult to get citizen-initiated petition questions in front of the Legislature or placed on the ballot.

Julie Matuzak is a Democrat on the Board of State Canvassers. She says legal challenges could complicate things even more.

“Things may change along the way. We don’t have any control over that. But we’re trying very hard to safeguard both the right to petition and the right of voters to make their signature count.”

 Matuzek says the board wants to move as quickly as possible because spring and summer are typically the most active seasons for petition campaigns to gather voter signatures.

Rick Pluta is the Capitol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He is heard daily on WCMU's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.