The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan (CBFM) began its campaign in 2015 with the goal of placing a ban on hydraulic fracturing in Michigan on the 2016 ballot. The group failed to collect the 252,523 signatures needed within the required 180 days to get the issue placed on the ballot in 2016. CBFM challenged the state’s 180-day window to collect signatures, but the court rejected the challenge as “premature” because the group had not collected enough signatures. The group then set their sights on the 2018 election, continuing to collect new signatures with the hopes that the combination of new and old signatures would be enough to reach the required amount by May of 2018. The group, however, again failed to collect the necessary signatures. On November 5, 2018, the day before the general election, CBFM tried to file its petition for placement on the November 2020 ballot, 5 years after it first began collecting signatures. The state rejected the signatures because the petitions stated that the proposal would be voted on in the 2016 general election, rendering the petition “defective and untimely”.
A quick timeline:
- On December 27, 2018, the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan (CBFM) filed a lawsuit in the Court of Claims. This suit, their third since 2015, asserted that Former Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Sally Williams, then Director of Elections for Michigan’s Department of State wrongfully rejected CBFM’s petition signatures and refused to notify the Board of State Canvassers that CBFM had filed a petition.
- On Thursday, March 8, 2019 Attorney General Dana Nessel asked the Court to dismiss the lawsuit and defended the state’s previous decision to reject the signatures submitted by the group.
- In July of 2019, the Court of Claims ruled that the rejection was proper because of a reference on the front of the petition to the 2016 election.
- On November 4th, CBFM filed an appeal brief in the Michigan Court of Appeals, in hopes of reversing the Court of Claims decision.
The CBFM's legal effort to compel the Secretary of State to accept their petition signatures is currently before the Michigan Court of Appeals.
Kelly Rossman-McKinney, spokesperson for Attorney General Dana Nessel, said the Attorney General’s next brief in the case before the Court of Appeals is due in December.