Democratic Lawmakers Fight to Protect Integrity of Voter Initiatives

LANSING, Mich. (May 17, 2021) — Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) and Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) have introduced a resolution to ensure that the power of voter-led initiatives remains with the people of Michigan and does not get hijacked by special interest groups.

Senate Joint Resolution H and House Joint Resolution F would amend the Michigan Constitution to require voter initiatives approved by the Board of Canvassers go straight to the ballot, rather than allowing the legislature an opportunity to pander to special interests by passing the initiative before it gets printed on the ballot. Specifically, it would amend Article 2, Section 9 to prohibit the legislature from taking up measures placed on the ballot by correcting the controversial, and somewhat ambiguous, adopt and amend language that currently allows the legislature to take up voter-led initiatives before the people get a say.

“The time is up for the abuse of this provision in our Constitution by Michigan Republicans who are still kicking, screaming, and whining about an election that ended more than six months ago — one with record turnout that has been proven, time and again, as the most secure election in modern history,” Sen. Geiss said. “The Republican majority in the state legislature has only recently deemed ‘election integrity’ to be an issue worth their time. I’m not falling for it, and neither should the people of Michigan, who deserve to have their own proposed laws have a fair say at the ballot box.”

Reporting by the Detroit Free Press found that Michigan is one of 21 states with a provision in its constitution allowing voter initiatives, once required signatures are certified, although most states allow it to go straight to the ballot once approved or provide an opportunity for a gubernatorial veto. Neither is provided for in Michigan’s Constitution, which has allowed voters to initiate their own laws by signing petitions since 1908.

Senate Joint Resolution H was assigned to the Senate Committee on Government Operations and House Joint Resolution F was assigned to the House Committee on Government Operations.

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