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Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution v. Sec’y of State

On April 25, 2018, a ballot question committee and two individual voters filed suit in Michigan state court to block a ballot proposal that would establish an independent redistricting commission for drawing Michigan’s congressional and state legislative electoral maps.

Published: July 31, 2018

Note: The Brennan Center is not a participant in this case.

Case Background

On April 25, 2018 a ballot question committee called Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution (CPMC) and two individual voters filed a lawsuit under Michigan law challenging a ballot proposal that would change how that state’s electoral boundaries are drawn. The proposal—which is sponsored by Voters Not Politicians—would create a thirteen-member independent redistricting commission to draw the state’s congressional and legislative districts. CPMC argues that the proposal changes too many parts of the state constitution to qualify as a “ballot proposal” that could be put to Michigan’s voters and, in violation of state election law, fails to list all of the constitutional provisions it would override.

The plaintiffs sought a writ of mandamus ordering the Secretary of State and the Board of State Canvassers to reject VNP’s petition to add the proposal to the ballot for the 2018 General Election. 

On June 7, a Court of Appeals panel unanimously rejected the plaintiffs’ request to keep the initiative off the November ballot. The plaintiffs appealed the court’s decision to the Michigan Supreme Court. 

Shortly thereafter, the plaintiffs appealed the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court and asked the court to stay the Court of Appeal’s order. On June 14, the court denied the motion to stay.

Update: On July 31, the Michigan Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s decision, allowing the proposal to be voted on in November. 


Michigan Court of Appeals

Michigan Supreme Court