Michigan Supreme Court Takes on a Legal Conundrum: Font Size


The Michigan Supreme Court grappled Wednesday with the issue of font styles and type size as they heard arguments on whether a voter challenge to the state's toughened emergency manager law should be placed on the Nov. 6 ballot, reports the Detroit Free Press. Opponents of the ballot measure say the font size on petitions calling for the vote were printed in type smaller than the 14-point size required by state law.

Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. said the question is whether a 14-point type generated by computer software today is faithful to what used to be generated manually. The group Stand up for Democracy collected more than 200,000 valid signatures – about 40,000 more than required – to get a question on the ballot asking voters to repeal Public Act 4, the new emergency manager law approved by Gov. Rick Snyder and the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2011. But another group, Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, has challenged the font size used on the petition, arguing it does not match the font size required under state law. The State Board of Canvassers deadlocked on the issue in a 2-2 vote. The Michigan Court of Appeals next ruled the question should go on the ballot, based on a legal precedent about petitions that are “substantially compliant” with state law. The state Supreme Court gave no indication on when it might rule.

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