McCall Hamilton Advocacy and Public Affairs

Updates About Ballot Proposals

Board of Canvassers Certify Voting and Abortion Ballot Measures

Update: Sep 5-16, 2022

As previously reported in Updates from the Capitol, the Board of State Canvassers failed to approve the Promote the Vote 2022 and Reproductive Freedom for All ballot initiatives during an uncharacteristically contentious meeting on Wednesday, August 31. The move temporarily blocked the measures from being placed on the November general election ballot.

Both proposals met the requisite signature requirements to qualify for the ballot, however, two Republican members of the board cited concerns regarding the formatting and clarity of the proposals’ language. The Board ultimately deadlocked in a 2 to 2 vote, prompting appeals from the ballot proposals supporters to the Michigan Supreme Court to intervene.

On Thursday, September 8, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in a 5 to 2 opinion that the actions of the Board of State Canvassers were not within its purview, among other things, and it was the duty of the Board to certify the two constitutional ballot initiatives for the November ballot.

In response to the Supreme Court decision, the Board unanimously approved the measures on Friday, September 9 for inclusion on the November general election ballot.

Board of Canvassers Deadlock on Promote the Vote and Reproductive Freedom for All Ballot Initiatives

Update: Aug 22-Sep 2, 2022

The Board of State Canvassers met on August 31 to consider the staff reports from the Bureau of Elections recommending that both the Promote the Vote and the Reproductive Freedom for All ballot initiatives be certified for the general election ballot.

The Board of State Canvassers deadlocked on voting to certify the Promote the Vote initiative, with the two Republican members, Chairman Tony Daunt (R-DeWitt) and Richard Housekamp (R-Grand Rapids) voting against certification. The two members agreed with those challenging certification that it was unclear what in Michigan’s Constitution would be changed under this proposal.

The board later deadlocked once again in voted on the Reproductive Freedom for All proposal. The challenger to the proposal, Citizens to Support Women and Children, argued the lack of spaces between the words on the petition rendered them non-sensical and that the petition violated statutory requirements. It was also argued that the board has denied certification on previous matters due to this same reason. Democrat members of the board who voted for certification were Mary Ellen Gurewitz (D-Detroit) and Jeannette Bradshaw (D-Ortonville). Gurewitz argued that the 700,000 people who signed the petition “obviously found it easy to read”.

At this point, the proposals will not be on the November ballot unless the Michigan Supreme Court intervenes and orders the board to certify. Proponents for both Promote the Vote and Reproductive Freedom for All have indicated they intend to take legal action to ensure the proposals end up on the November ballot. The Board did vote to approve the 100-word summaries for both petitions that would appear on the ballot in the event the Supreme Court intervenes and the measures move forward.

Let MI Kids Learn Ballot Initiative Submits Signatures

Update: Aug 8-19, 2022

Let MI Kids Learn, a ballot initiative that would establish a scholarship program to provide grants to low-income students for education expenses, submitted signatures to the Bureau of Elections on August 10. The initiative, supported by the DeVos family, collected 520,598 signatures.

Under this initiative, public school students could receive up to $500 and public school students with disabilities could receive $1,100. These funds could be used for transportation, tutoring, tuition, mental health support, and other expenses that are education related. Private school students, however, could collect up to $7,000. Another aspect of the initiative would allow taxpayers that contribute to the program to claim up to $500 in tax credits, with an annual maximum starting at $500 million.

Similar efforts have been underway in other states and the outcomes appear to be somewhat mixed in part due to the fact that the program performance is not easy to objectively assess. This proposal has drawn criticism from the State Board of Education president Casandra Ulbrich and the chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, Lavora Barnes, among others. According to the For MI Kids coalition, led by Ulbrich, this initiative could reduce state revenue by approximately $90 million in 2024 and continue to reduce state revenues annually.

Should the signatures submitted for the ballot initiative be approved by the Board of State Canvassers, voters would have the opportunity to vote on the initiative during the 2024 election. However, the Michigan State Legislature could choose to take up the initiative for a vote if certified by the Bureau of Elections.