Laws governing local ballot measures in Michigan
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This article sets out the laws governing local ballot measures Michigan. It explains:
- Which local units of government make the initiative process available to residents.
- How and whether local units of government, including school districts, can refer local ballot measures (such as school bond propositions) to the ballot.
- An overview of laws governing local recall elections.
Types of local government
Local government in Michigan consists of:
- 277 city governments
- 256 village governments
- 1240 township governments
- 83 county governments
- In addition, there are 445 special districts and 576 independent school districts.
Counties may be general law or chartered. 2 counties, Wayne and Macomb, are governed under a charter.
All 277 cities are governed under a charter. Villages have the option of adopting a charter, and 46 have done so.
School bond and tax elections in Michigan are held under two circumstances.
- To issue new bonding
- To exceed the property tax cap or sinking fund levy limit.
However, before a school board can place a bond measure on the ballot, the bond must be qualified through the Michigan School Bond Qualification and Loan Program, or SBQLP. SBQLP is authorized through the Michigan Constitution.
Local recall rules
| Ballot Law Portal|
|Laws Governing Ballot Measures|
Michigan is one of nine states with provisions that say that the right of recall extends to recalling members of its federal congressional delegation, but it hasn't been clear whether federal courts would allow states to actually recall their federal politicians.
Michigan politicians who are otherwise subject to recall cannot be recalled in the first six months, or the last six months, of their current term in office.
- For additional detail, see: Laws governing recall in Michigan
Initiative process availability
An initiative process is available in:
- 2 charter counties which have a mandated initiative process.
- 46 Home-rule villages which have a mandated initiative process.
- 277 charter cities which have a mandated initiative process for charter amendments. Cities may also adopt initiative for ordinances in their charter, and many have done so.
Section 117.21 of the Michigan Compiled Laws mandates an initiative process for charter amendments. Section 117.4i authorizes charters to include initiative for ordinances.
See law: MCL 117.21, 117.4i
As for home rule villages, Michigan Compiled Laws sections 78.14 and 78.17 require the ability for initiatives to propose amendments to a charter. It requires gathering signatures equal to 20% of the the total vote cast for president in the last general election. Michigan Revised Code section 78.23 states that Home Rule Villages must determine on their own how to adopt, amend, or repeal ordinances.
Initiative process features
All cities (all of which have a charter) have a state mandated initiative process for charter amendments.
Initiative process in the top 10 most populated cities
The top 10 most populated cities in Michigan are governed under a home rule charter, as are all cities. Initiative is available for charter amendments as detailed above. In addition, the 10 cities below have all authorized initiative for ordinances. The provisions below come from the specific city charter or code. Click on the citation links to read the full requirements for the initiative process.
|A guide to local ballot initiatives|
|Local I&R Laws in the 50 States|
|Source:Local Ballot Initiatives: How citizens change laws with |
clipboards, conversations, and campaigns
|List of Most Populated Cities in Michigan|
|City||Population||City Type||Next election|
- Ballotpedia research document
- Organization of city and village government in Michigan
- Michigan municipal league
- ↑ The U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 study of local governments
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Ballotpedia: Types and #'s of local government by state
- ↑ Big Government, "The Right of Recall", February 9, 2010
- ↑ Detroit Free Press, "To file a recall, follow the rules", March 26, 2010
- ↑ MCL Chap. 117, Home Rule City Act
- ↑ Michigan Code 168.482
- ↑ US Census Bureau "City and Town Totals: Vintage 2011 (Population figures as of 2011 Census estimates)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 8.9 US Census, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Michigan: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011