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Petitions now in state hands,Public Act 4 opponents call for "supervised process"

Opponents of Michigan’s emergency manager law, Public Act 4, say they’re concerned about the integrity of petitions they just handed over to the Secretary of State.

If enough petition signatures are certified (approximately 161,000--organizers say they've collected more than 220,000), the law would be suspended until a voter referendum in November.

Because it’s a politically-charged matter of numbers, organizers say they want to make sure those petitions are supervised and handled properly.

Detroit NAACP branch President Wendell Anthony says they just want the process to be transparent.

“I don’t think any of us are accusing the bureau of canvassers or the Secretary of State of doing anything wrong or illegal,” Anthony said. “But we do have our concerns.”

Anthony and others say chief among those concerns are whether signatures could be blurred or damaged. They’re also concerned about how much access potential challengers could have to the petitions.

Butch Hollowell, counsel for the Detroit, NAACP, says Michigan shouldtake a lesson from Wisconsin, where there’s an ongoing effort to recall Governor Scott Walker.

“Just as in Wisconsin--where there was a camera in the room--we would like something similar to keep an eye on those ballots,” Hollowell said.

The two sides are set to meet and discuss procedures on Wednesday.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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