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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Supporters for Public Act #4 petitions request Federal Department of Justice intervention

Photo Credit-ROJS News
As hundreds of supporters of a repeal of Michigan's
Public Act #4 marched in Detroit Labor Day Parade
September 5, 2011, nearly a year later, action still
awaits on allowing a up or down vote on the
Michigan's Emergency Manager Law.
At a press conference this morning, Detroit Branch of the NAACP, along with Stand Up for Democracy team and various religious supporters from across the state, forwarded a letter over to the Department of Justice requesting intervention for a vote of the public to re-affirm or permanently suspend controversial Michigan Public Act #4, known as the Emergency Financial Manager law.

This fight in Michigan has carried on since March 2011, when Gov. Rick Snyder signed Public Act #4 into law.

The letter addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, cites state authorities are using delay tactics to nullify petitions signed on behalf of over 223,000 Michigan registered voters. The letter allege that the State of Michigan administrative tribunals and court system are in violation of Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973).
"Let the petitions go free and put the question on the ballot now," stated NAACP Detroit President Wendell Anthony at the press conference held at the organization offices on Second Avenue in Detroit. "Why are the people in urban communities being denied access to the ballot?" Anthony questioned.
The City of Detroit is under a Consent Agreement, enacted to avoid a direct emergency manager in charge of Michigan's largest community. Yet oversight on  terms of how the agreement is operated rests directly in Lansing's Department of Treasury and the Governor's office, more so than Detroit's elected officials.

Communities with a high minority population of Benton Harbor and Pontiac, along with public school districts of Detroit, Muskegon Heights, Benton Harbor and Highland Park are under the authority of a emergency manager.
Photo Credit-ROJS News 
Secretary of State certification of receiving
the over 250K signed signatures on petitions
to have a vote on Public Act #4 February 2012.
"We have our eyes on the court," Anthony stated. "We are willing to see that the will of the people is upheld."
NAACP President Anthony questioned if delay tactics on the P.A. #4 petitions by Michigan Bureau of Elections - Board of Canvassers, the Michigan Appeals & State Supreme Courts, along with certain Republican party Governmental Officials or right lending majorities, are being used to impact the November 6, 2012 General Election final results.
"Is our vote being depressed to impact the outcome of the upcoming Presidential Election in this state?" Anthony questioned.
Father Norman Paul Thomas of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Detroit noted the situation of blocking access for Michigan voters to determine the fate of Public Act #4, is discouraging.
"It's discouraging to find people who are not taking our votes and signatures on the petitions seriously," Father Thomas replied. "All we're asking for is it to be placed on the ballot and let the people decide."
Attorney Herbert Sanders who led Stand Up for Democracy Team legal arguments initially at the State Board of Canvassers and throughout Michigan's Judicial system process, asking for P.A. #4 fate be decided by voters, said he will continuing fighting for justice in this case.
"We will fight this by any means necessary," Attorney Sanders stated. "The denial of self-determination clearly violates the entire voting process."
Detroit's Branch NAACP Lead Counsel Attorney Melvin Butch Hollowell noted during the press conference that if Michigan's Supreme Court declined to hear oral arguments on the Public Act #4 petitions, the Board of Canvassers would have been bond to allow an up or down vote on the act by November 6th. Furthermore Hollowell noted that although some Michigan voters watched the oral arguments before the Michigan Supreme Court July 25th, the Court has not decided if it will make a final ruling on the case.
"If the (Michigan) Supreme Court would have denied hearing this case, the Court of Appeals ruling would have stood," Hollowell stated. "The Michigan Supreme Court has not agreed to take the case and make a final ruing, after oral arguments was made before the court. At this point, we're asking for the Department of Justice to intervene."
ROJS News will continue to follow this story and update any details here or on our weekend radio show covering Michigan & National Politics, ROJS Radio LIVE.

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