Yesterday, June 1, Planned Parenthood filed challenges to signatures for the Michigan Values Life petition drive to end dismemberment abortions.

To check the petition signatures, the Bureau of Elections (BOE) pulls a sample of 500 signatures, rather than checking all submitted signatures. If enough signatures in the sample are valid, the BOE will recommend the signatures be certified by the State Board of Canvassers. If not enough are found, another sample must be pulled to check. If far too few appear to be valid, the BOE will recommend against certification.

Planned Parenthood has found that 435 of the 500 signatures are valid (87%), and is challenging the validity of 65 signatures.

• 448 or fewer valid signatures would lead to denial of certification.
• 449-464 signatures would merit a larger sample being pulled to check. 456 is technically the exact amount needed.
• 465 is the amount needed for them to recommend certification without having to check a larger sample.

Michigan Values Life submitted 379,419 signatures on December 23, 2019. The Bureau of Elections eliminated 6,357 of those signatures for damage to the petition, i.e. tears, smears, stains, stickers on the back or front (a portion of those are possibly salvageable if needed). That leaves 373,062 signatures, technically meaning 456 signatures in the sample need to be valid for the petition drive to reach the legal requirement of 340,047 signatures.

Had we submitted our goal of 400,000 signatures we believed to be valid, 435 would have been enough for certification. We collected more than 400,000 signatures but did not submit many that had mistakes.

Now that the challenges have been filed, Michigan Values Life has the opportunity to “revive” each signature with a counter-challenge. The majority of Planned Parenthood’s challenges are potential non-registered voters, along with 21 signatures they say are duplicates (people who forgot they already signed it). If 30 of the 65 signatures are revived, the threshold of 465 will be reached. We can guarantee some signatures they challenged are valid based on very preliminary checks.

The BOE has not yet set a deadline for counter-challenges to be filed. We will let you know when we have more details.