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Analysis of Initiatives and Referenda
This page has analyses of issues that will appear on Michigan’s statewide ballot at the November 6, 2018 elections. The Citizens Research Council of Michigan does not endorse candidates for office or take positions on ballot issues. In analyzing these ballot issues, the Citizens Research Council hopes to provide more information so that voters can make better informed decisions in formulating their vote.
Watch this space for analysis of ballot questions.
General Election Day: November 6, 2018
Information about registering to vote, absentee voting, election officials, and state law
The Ballot Proposal Process in Michigan: A Synopsis
There are four methods whereby a proposal can be placed on the statewide ballot in Michigan: (1) statutory initiative, (2) voter referendum, (3) legislative referendum, and (4) constitutional amendment.
STATUTORY INITIATIVE is defined by Section 9 of Article 2 of the Michigan Constitution as the power which the people reserve to themselves “to propose laws and to enact and reject laws.” The power of initiative extends to any law the Legislature may enact and is invoked by filing petitions containing signatures of registered voters equal in number to at least eight percent of the total votes cast in the last election for governor. The Legislature is required to enact, without modification, or reject any proposed initiative within 40 session days. An initiative not enacted by the Legislature is placed on the statewide ballot at the next general election. A law that is initiated or adopted by the people is not subject to gubernatorial veto and one adopted by voters cannot subsequently be amended or repealed except by the voters or by a three-fourths vote of the Legislature.
VOTER REFERENDUM is defined by Section 9 of Article 2 of the Michigan Constitution as the power “to approve and reject laws enacted by the legislature.” Referendum must be invoked, within 90 days of final adjournment of the legislative session during which the law in question was enacted, by filing petitions containing signatures of registered voters equal in number to at least five percent of the total votes cast for governor in the last general election. The effect of invoking a referendum is to suspend the law in question until voters approve or reject it at the next general election.
LEGISLATIVE REFERENDUM is authorized by Section 34 of Article 4 of the Michigan Constitution, which provides that “[a]ny bill passed by the legislature and approved by the governor, except a bill appropriating money, may provide that it will not become law unless approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon.”
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT is authorized by Sections 1 and 2 of Article 12 of the Michigan Constitution and may be proposed either by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature or by filing petitions containing signatures of registered voters equal in number to at least ten percent of the total votes cast for governor in the last general election.
The question of CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION is required by Section 3 of Article XII of the Michigan Constitution to appear on the ballot automatically every 16 years after 1978.