For Immediate Release
Contact: Eric Lupher
Date: September 15, 2022
Livonia, MI – The Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a 106-year-old, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving government in Michigan, has analyzed Proposal 2, a citizen initiated constitutional amendment on the November 8 ballot that would put voting rights, many of them already part of state law, behind the protective armor of the state constitution.
What we found:
- If Proposal 2 is adopted, several voting rights will be enshrined in the Michigan Constitution. Many of them are currently dealt with in state law, but by including these rights in the state constitution, it will make it more difficult for the legislature to make changes to certain aspects of the voting franchise.
- If Proposal 2 is rejected, many of these voting rights would be enforced in current state law. Lawmakers will continue to be responsible for safeguarding voting in Michigan through state law and would have the prerogative of implementing provisions not currently available.
- Major Issues to consider: The key issue raised by the proposal deals less with the specific voting rights that would be included in the state constitution, than whether these policy preferences should be in the state’s foundational document. Many of the policies contained in the proposal are ones that are essentially legislative matters that currently reside in the Michigan Election Law.
Voting and ballot access are fundamental to a thriving, well-functioning democracy. While all citizens have a responsibility to vote on Election Day, it falls to the government to ensure that all aspects of the voting process, from registration to election certification, are efficient, secure, fair and accurate.
The Michigan Constitution entrusts the state legislature with the responsibility “to regulate the time, place and manner of all elections,” except for instances where the Constitution specifically addresses aspects of the voting franchise. Proposal 2 takes the job of oversight out of the hands of Michigan policy makers and puts it in the Constitution, which it is far more difficult to change than state statute.
Some of the voting rights covered by Proposal 2 have long been part of U.S., and Michigan’s, civic life – particularly establishing voting as a fundamental right. Others that have been more controversial are included as well – the ability to attest to one’s identity by signing an affidavit if he or she does not bring identification with them to the polling place on Election Day.
“This proposal continues a trend of bypassing initiated statutes and proposing statutory material for inclusion in the state constitution,” said Eric Lupher, President of the Citizens Research Council. “Further, it might create fear that a no vote would threaten long-established voting rights, such as the secret ballot.”
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan does not take positions on ballot issues. In analyzing the questions on the November ballot, the Citizens Research Council hopes to provide more information so that voters can make better informed decisions in formulating their votes.
Paper copies are available upon request.
Founded in 1916, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan works to improve government in Michigan. The organization provides factual, unbiased, independent information concerning significant issues of state and local government organization, policy, and finance. By delivery of this information to policymakers and citizens, the Research Council aims to ensure sound and rational public policy formation in Michigan. For more information, visit www.crcmich.org.