DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Opponents of Michigan’s emergency manager law held hands in prayer outside the offices of the Court of Appeals in Detroit.

A coalition of groups is asking the state appeals court to force canvassers to put a measure on the November 6 ballot calling for a repeal of the law.

Attorney Melvin Hollowell filed a motion Wednesday with the court in Detroit, asking judges within seven days to compel the State Board of Canvassers to meet and certify the petitions. The groups face an Aug. 27 ballot deadline.

The 2011 law allows the governor to appoint emergency managers over financially stressed cities and school districts.

The Stand Up for Democracy coalition collected 203,238 valid voter signatures, about 40,000 more than needed.

Canvassers tied 2-2 along party lines on whether to approve it after critics said the size of the print on the petition was too small and violated state law.

Central United Methodist Pastor Edwin Rowe was among a group that held the prayer rally on Wednesday.

“What’s happened is that a political agenda has decided the law. Now that is the burying of demoncracy in this place in at this time,” Rowe said. “We have long history of people who had to fight for the right to vote. This is … Jim Crow that applies to white folks and black folks and brown folks and red folks.”

Also present was NAACP Detroit Branch President Wendell Anthony, who compared a state-appointed emergency manager to a despot.

“We believe that this is a great stalling tactic — that they’re doing this to give the dictator law more time to entrench itself, more time to suppress the voting rights of the people.”

(More on the emergency manager issue)

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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