You fontin’ me, bro?
Yesterday, I took a look at the font size on the petitions to put the repeal of Public Act 4 — Michigan’s Emergency Manager law — on the November ballot. Recall that the group Citizens for Financial Responsibility is challenging the more than quarter million citizen signatures on a minor font-based technicality. As I said yesterday, it’s a desperate move and one that’s not even based on anything legitimate.
The rules (which you can read HERE [pdf]) don’t actually tell you what type of font is required. If you wanted to, you could use Comic Sans or anything else that is readable. However, the font choice makes a BIG difference in the height and width of font.
Eclectablog staff forensic fonticologist (aka, my wife Anne) took a look at a variety of different fonts. Here’s a smattering of different fonts, all bold and 14-point as required by law. The one at the top is the actual heading used on the petitions so that you can compare the size:
Examples of various fonts — all bold and 14-point
The first thing that jumps out at you is how different in appearance and size these fonts all are. That’s despite the fact that they are all bold and 14-point as required by law.
For example, if you take the Apple Symbols font, another sans serif (“without serif”) font, even though it is 14-point and bold, it’s still much smaller than the other 14-point fonts. It’s even smaller than the petition heading font which is being challenged and yet it’s a completely legitimate font to use and totally legal as the heading font for a petition like this one.
Given this, it’s pretty hard to see how the Citizens for Financial Responsibility (aka Sterling Corporation where Board of State Canvassers member Jeff Timmer works) are going to prevail in this desperate attempt to derail the petition drive. In fact, I have been in contact with folks from Stand Up For Democracy, the group heading up this initiative, and they assure me that they have done their homework and are completely confident that their petitions are 100% valid and legal. Don’t forget: they have a Printers Affidavit certifying that the font is the correct size. And don’t forget, too, that there is precedence NOT to throw out petitions based on minor technicalities.
When you look at the prevailing evidence, it’s pretty hard to see how this challenge is anything more than an effort to get Stand Up For Democracy to spend unnecessary funds defending themselves. But, hey, that’s how conservatives roll, isn’t it?