It’s now up to the state Supreme Court to decide whether the referendum to challenge Michigan’s emergency manager law will appear on the November ballot. The court spent 90 minutes today listening to arguments on whether a dispute over type size is enough to keep the question off the ballot.
John Pirich is the attorney for Michigan Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility. The business-backed group is trying to knock the referendum off the ballot. Pirich says it’s not enough to trust that a computer program used by petition printers is accurately measuring type size.
“Everyone knows what a computer can do. I can make letters get scrunched. I can make letters get elongated. They say 12-, 14-, or six-point font, whatever it might say, but that can be manipulated," he said.
Supporters of the referendum say the petitions were correctly printed in the proper font size. They also say the will of more than 200,000 petition signers should not be ignored.
Herb Sanders is the attorney for Stand Up for Democracy.
“Do we make it difficult – as they have proposed – for people to redress their government through the petition process? Or do we uphold the constitutional rights of the citizens of this state, and allow them access to the ballot? That’s what this case is about," he said.
There was also an argument before the court about whether a state elections board can be ordered to put a question on the ballot.