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State board to consider election audit, minimum wage, abortion rights petition summaries

person writing on paper
A state board is considering summary language atop three petitions.

A trio of ballot campaigns face a procedural hurdle Wednesday.

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers is slated to vote on summary language for the petitions. Summary approval is not required, but it’s a step often taken to shield against lawsuits as petitions move toward a statewide vote.

The board does not cast votes on the petitions themselves; it's job is to review the summaries to make sure they're accurate descriptions of the petitions' full text.

Chantel Watkins is the treasurer for Raise the Wage, a group working on the petition to increase the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“Prices are going up, and they have been for years. They continue to rise whether people are making more money or not," Watkins said. "What it’s going to do when people are making more money, is stimulate the economy.”

Raise the Wage is working to gradually raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour from the current $9.87 by 2027.

“The state’s current minimum wage is poverty wages. And as we can see, especially this year more than ever, the cost of living is going up, and it’s going up pretty fast,” Watkins said.

The board is also scheduled to consider summary language for petitions to constitutionally guarantee abortion rights and create what supporters describe as a “forensic audit board" to review Michigan elections.

ACLU policy strategist Merissa Kovach has been working on the abortion rights campaign in coalition with the group Reproductive Freedom for All. She said the campaign will determine its next steps based on Wednesday’s Board of State Canvassers meeting.

“We do feel confident that this is something that would be supported by Michigan voters,” Kovach said. “[If] we’re collecting signatures within the next couple of weeks, we feel pretty confident that we can collect the signatures required to qualify for the ballot.”

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