Skip to Main

Court Strikes Michigan Law to Make Petition Drives Harder

Promo Image: Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Police Investigating Deaths on Tribal Land

DETROIT (AP) — An effort by Republicans to make it harder to change Michigan law through petition drives was declared unconstitutional Monday by the state Supreme Court.

The court struck down a 15% geographic cap on the number of signatures that could be collected to get an issue on the statewide ballot. It would have forced petition circulators to focus on more than just highly populated areas.

That portion of the 2018 law conflicts with the Michigan Constitution, the court said.

“It would run directly contrary to the clear intention that nothing more than a minimum number of signatures from the statewide population is necessary to propose changes to Michigan’s laws,” Justice Megan Cavanagh wrote.

The court also nixed a requirement that people who are paid to collect signatures must register with the state. The court, however, said it’s OK to require circulators to indicate on a petition whether they’re being paid.

The changes were made by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, also a Republican, before he left office at the end of 2018.

The law was passed after voters used direct democracy at the ballot box to change how maps are drawn for the Legislature and Congress; make it easier to vote; and legalize marijuana.