LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Opponents of Michigan's sweeping emergency manager law have gathered enough signatures to put a repeal measure on the November ballot, according to a Wednesday state elections staff memo.
The finding outlined in the memo sent by elections staff to the State Board of Canvassers, and obtained by The Associated Press, could put into limbo seven emergency managers overseeing four communities and three school districts across the state. The board is set to vote Thursday on whether the issue will go on the ballot. If it does, the law will be suspended immediately until the November election.
The decision would affect emergency mangers in the Detroit, Highland Park and Muskegon Heights school systems and the communities of Pontiac, Flint, Ecorse and Benton Harbor. It isn't expected to affect an agreement on finances reached last week between Detroit city and state officials.
Elections staff said in a memo that the Stand Up for Democracy coalition collected 203,238 valid voter signatures, about 40,000 more than needed.
"This is an important step in the effort to stand up for democracy in Michigan," coalition director Herb Sanders said in a release. "This report clearly shows that people across the state want the opportunity to vote to repeal the emergency manager dictator law. Now it is up to the State Board of Canvassers to honor the democratic process and let the people vote."
A group called Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility is challenging the petitions, saying they're not legal because the heading is printed in a type size that's smaller than required. The board will consider the challenge in making its decision. If it decides the challenge is legitimate, the emergency managers will remain in place, even if enough valid signatures have been turned in.
Supporters of the emergency manager law say it's working to stabilize financially stressed cities and school districts. Gov. Rick Snyder pushed for the law and has said it should remain in place. A call seeking comment from his press office wasn't immediately returned.