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Image: Abortion-rights protesters at Michigan state capitol
Abortion-rights protesters attend a rally outside the state capitol in Lansing, Mich., on June 24, 2022.Paul Sancya / AP file

Midterm elections roundup: Abortion ballot initiative stalls in Michigan

A state elections panel deadlocked Wednesday over whether the initiative qualified for the November ballot.

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Democrats have declared that “abortion is on the ballot” in November, and a handful of states are actually preparing to vote on ballot initiatives related to abortion. But Michigan voters might not have that chance after a state elections board deadlocked Wednesday over a proposed ballot initiative protecting the right to an abortion.

The board spilt along party lines over whether abortion rights advocates circulated valid petitions to voters, according to the Detroit Free Press, after a group challenged the petitions because the proposed amendment had spaces missing between the words. The group pushing for the ballot initiative plans to appeal to the state Supreme Court. 

The fate of whether the proposed constitutional amendment remains off the ballot could impact turnout in the battleground state, which is hosting competitive races for governor, attorney general, secretary of state and multiple competitive House races

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is also fighting the state’s 1931 abortion ban in court, has focused on abortion in her re-election campaign, recently telling the Detroit Free Press, ​​”It’s a precarious moment. It is a scary moment. It’s also an incredibly important moment.”

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

New Hampshire Senate: A new GOP super PAC has jumped into the New Hampshire Senate race to boost state Sen. Chuck Morse, with the primary less than two weeks away. The group has reserved nearly $4.1 million in airtime, per AdImpact. 

Pennsylvania Senate: Republican Mehmet Oz said back in May that abortion is “murder” at any stage of pregnancy, NBC News’ Sahil Kapur reports. And Lt. Gov. John Fetterman joined MSNBC’s The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle, where he said that while he’s having “basic auditory processing” issues where he misses or combines words, he’s “expecting to have a full recovery over the next several months.” 

Wisconsin Senate: One of Republican Sen. Ron Johnson’s campaign staffers signed on to be a so-called fake elector for Trump as part of the effort to overturn the 2020 election, NBC News’ Natasha Korecki reports. 

Pennsylvania Governor: Former Democratic Senate hopeful Malcolm Kenyatta will chair a new PAC targeting candidates the group says are anti-LGBTQ, starting with Republican Doug Mastriano. 

Texas Governor: Democrat Beto O’Rourke will return to the campaign trail Friday after recovering from a bacterial infection, the Texas Tribune reports.