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Wolf hunt opponents challenge Michigan law limiting who can circulate petitions

Gary Kramer

A group hoping to end wolf hunting in Michigan says a law banning out-of-state petition circulators is unconstitutional. It filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court challenging the law.

Right now, only Michigan residents are allowed to collect signatures for ballot campaigns and voter initiatives.

“Circulating petitions is one of the ways that people spearhead policy change and place referenda and initiatives on the ballot for a direct vote by the people,” said Jill Fritz with the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. “And petition circulators don’t lose their First Amendment rights once they cross state lines.”

Fritz’s group hopes to ask voters to repeal a law that led to Michigan’s first wolf hunt last year. She says they’re on track to collect enough signatures without the help of out-of-state circulators.

The Michigan secretary of state’s office declined to comment on the lawsuit.        

A state board approved another petition drive last week that would allow petition circulators from outside Michigan.