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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. 

Docu­ments

Michigan Court of Appeals

Michigan Supreme Court