|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
Contact: Maureen McNulty Saxton
|LIVONIA, Mich., July 26, 2023 – The Citizens Research Council of Michigan yesterday was recognized by the Governmental Research Association (GRA) with The Most Effective Education award in the “state government-focused” category. The award, announced at the annual GRA meeting in Massachusetts, was in recognition of the Research Councils’ Analyses of 2022 Statewide Ballot Questions. The GRA award committee specifically cited the “depth of research, presentation and distillation of key points” as reasons to honor the Citizens Research Council for its work. |
GRA is a national organization comprised of professional researchers and research organizations engaged in public policy governmental research and analysis in major cities and several states.
The Citizens Research Council has a long history of studying, analyzing, and writing about statewide ballot questions. Since the adoption of the current 1963 Michigan Constitution, the Research Council has analyzed every statewide ballot question put to voters, including over 120 proposed constitutional amendments, citizen-initiated legislation, and citizen-initiated referenda.
“The Citizens Research Council works to help policy makers make informed policy. For statewide ballot questions, instead of lawmakers making laws, public policy is made through the ballot box; Michigan citizens are the policymakers,” said Eric Lupher, president of the Citizens Research Council.
“In an era where the 280-character Tweet rules, it can be difficult for voters to find sources of information that accurately and objectively analyze a ballot question,” said Lupher. “This is exactly the role we embrace with our ballot analyses. We never take a position on a ballot question, so we have no vested interest in the subject matter other than to fully educate voters.”
In early September 2022, the Research Council published analyses of the three statewide ballot questions that voters were being asked to vote on in November. The three proposed constitutional amendments dealt with vastly different issues: Proposal 1 would modify the implementation of legislative term limits and require certain financial disclosures for state elective offices. Proposal 2 would create a host of new voting rights in the state constitution, many of them already part of state law. Proposal 3 would establish a state constitutional right to reproductive services, including abortion.
The three proposals combined received 66,000 web views, and another 10,000 views on related written materials. In addition to over 30 interviews for Michigan print, online, and broadcast media, Research Council staff also presented a webinar, in partnership with MIRS News, to summarize the Research Council’s analyses of the proposals. Staff also gave multiple informational presentations statewide on the proposals and were called upon to serve as neutral observers of the questions at community forums. The Research Council has a 107-year reputation as a go-to source for non-partisan, unbiased, objective research and public policy analysis. Even the Michigan Secretary of State has linked to the Council’s work for descriptions or analyses of statewide ballot issues – the only external website linked to the state’s main election page.