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National Popular Vote compact won’t make Michigan 2022 ballot

paper ballot
(Bridge file photo)

LANSING — A bipartisan group pushing to elect presidents based on the national popular vote is pulling the plug on plans for a 2022 ballot proposal in Michigan, organizers confirmed Thursday. 

The "Yes on National Popular Vote" committee is halting immediate plans for a petition drive but isn't giving up on the effort altogether.

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“We will continue to educate the public, build our coalition, build support and work toward passing the National Popular Vote law in Michigan in 2024,” former state Republican Party Chair Saul Anuzis said in a statement. 

“We will remain steadfast in our efforts to bring about this necessary reform that will apply the principle of ‘one person, one vote’ to our presidential elections.”

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The group's proposal sought voter authorization for Michigan to join an interstate compact that would upend — but not technically undo — the Electoral College system that has five times produced a president who got fewer votes than a competitor, most recently Republican Donald Trump in 2016.

The compact would only take effect if enough states pledged their Electoral College votes to ensure election of the candidate who received the most individual votes nationwide.

Fifteen states and Washington D.C. have joined the compact since 2006, and a successful 2022 ballot proposal would have made Michigan the 16th. 

Anuzis and former Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer announced plans for the initiative in September.

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Legislative Republicans, however, made clear they would fight the initiative, arguing it would encourage presidential candidates to focus on higher-population states and stop campaigning in rural areas. 

And the Michigan GOP's state central committee this month voted to formally oppose the effort.

“The National Popular Vote campaign threatened to take away Michigan’s voice in choosing the leader of the free world, turning it over to liberal elitists and coastal cities in California and New York”, state Republican Party Chair Ron Weiser said Thursday in a statement. 

“The road to the White House runs through Michigan and this is the first big victory of many for us coming into the 2022 cycle."

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