Feb 1, 2008

Health Care petition drive looks to nonprofits for help

Health Care for Michigan is looking to Michigan’s progressive, nonprofit and human service community to help with its petition drive to force a ballot initiative to require health care for all residents.

Health Care for Michigan is already a coalition of labor, religious and activist groups, but it wants to get more petitions into the hands of people by going to the numerous organizations and advocacy groups out there.

The coalition wants to amend the state constitution to require the Legislature to pass laws to ensure that "every Michigan resident has affordable and comprehensive health care coverage through a fair and cost-effective financing system." In order to do that, they must collect the valid signatures of registered voters equal to 10 percent of the total number of votes cast for all candidates for governor in the last election. That comes out to 380,126 signatures that must be collected by July 7 to put the measure on the November general election ballot.

“Part of my job is to get petitions to the various groups out there and have them returned them to me,” said John Freeman, chairman of the of the ballot committee.

The petition drive really got going during the Jan. 15 Michigan Presidential Primary election, and it was the best opportunity to get that many registered voters in one place.

“We had people on the street during election day,” Freeman said. “They were all registered voters, so it was a good opportunity to get the signatures we need.”

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