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State Supreme Court sends case over ballot initiative law to lower court for dismissal

person writing on paper
Recalls are not an easy thing to pull off

The Michigan Supreme Court has sent a lawsuit over a 2018 ballot initiative law back to the Court of Appeals, saying the lawsuit should be dismissed.

That means the Republican-supported 2018 law to make it more difficult for citizens to mount petition drives in Michigan is probably not enforceable.

The law would have capped signatures on petitions from any one congressional district to 15%.

The Supreme Court made no decision on the law, saying the lawsuit was moot because the primary plaintiff no longer intended to mount a petition drive, and because the remaining parties lacked standing.

Attorney Mary Ellen Gurewitz represented the League of Women Voters in the case.  She says once the case is dismissed, the Michigan Secretary of State is expected to follow the state's previous law, because Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued an opinion finding the new law unconstitutional.

"If 15% of the people from my congressional district have signed a petition, then I'm not able to sign it," says Gurewitz.  "And that's a severe limitation on a person's constitutional right to sign a petition."

Gurewitz says another problem with the 2018 law is that many people don't know their congressional district, so obtaining valid signatures would have been difficult because of that.

The 2018 law also would have required petitioners disclose on petition sheets their paid or volunteer status.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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