Published in Economic Development

LGBTQ civil rights ballot initiative to collect signatures online

BY MIBIZ STAFF Monday, April 13, 2020 03:34pm

Organizers behind a ballot initiative to add protections for the LGBTQ community under the state’s civil rights law announced today they will begin collecting petition signatures electronically.

The spread of the coronavirus has hampered political efforts that require signature gathering, including proposed ballot initiatives and candidates seeking to get on the ballot. 

“To keep our supporters safe and to recognize the stay-at-home orders by the state, we are encouraging people to sign the petition for LGBTQ equality electronically during this unique moment,” Trevor Thomas, co-chair of the Fair and Equal Michigan campaign, said in a statement. “This transition to electronic signature collection will ensure Michigan voters can continue to participate in the democratic process and exercise their reserved constitutional right to initiate legislation while doing their part to stop the spread of coronavirus.”

At least two other ballot initiatives, involving a graduated income tax and overhauling state lobbying rules, suspended their campaigns last month. Organizers say those two campaigns remain suspended.

Fair and Equal Michigan seeks to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people under protections of the Michigan Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act. 

Despite support from major businesses, the idea has languished in the Republican-led state Legislature for several sessions.

To sign the petition, registered voters can do so at the Fair and Equal Michigan website. Organizers say the process takes about three minutes and includes two-factor authentication, including a driver’s license or state ID number.

The group says electronic signatures are allowed under the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act and under an April 8 executive order issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Fair and Equal Michigan has until May 27 to turn in 340,047 valid signatures. Organizers say they have already collected more than 150,000 signatures.

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