Michigan ballot news archive

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Note: This page includes short news headlines as they happen. If you scroll through the page and read earlier headlines, information pertaining to the events in those sections may have changed significantly since the section was posted.
==Michigan Senate approves property tax amendment==

On March 18, 2009, the Michigan State Senate by a vote of 29-8 approved legislation that would put a constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot for Michigan voters that would, if enacted, prevent property taxes from going up when home values decline. The bill now goes to the Michigan House of Representatives, where 74 of the 110 members of the state house will have to vote in favor for it to go on the November 2010 ballot in Michigan.[1]

Dillon recall effort fails to make ballot

On May 1, supporters of a recall of Michigan House Speaker Andy Dillon submitted 15,498 signatures to election authorities, but Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land announced on June 5 that recall proponents didn't collect enough valid signatures. Elections officials said only 7,948 of the signatures submitted were valid, about 800 fewer than needed to make the August ballot. An organizer of the recall effort took the matter to court, arguing that petition circulators should not have been required to live in Dillon's district. But the courts declined to hear the case. More...

Meijer hit with record fine for campaign finance violations

Michigan leveled a $190,000 fine, the most that could be imposed, against Meijer, Inc., a $14 billion Grand Rapids-based company that pioneered the superstore concept, for violating campaign finance laws in two Acme Township elections.[2]

"Our campaign finance laws are about openness and disclosure, and in this case Meijer tried to avoid both," said Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, who imposed the fine.[3]

Meijer—which has more than 180 stores in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky—hid its role bankrolling two campaigns: a 2005 effort to overturn a temporary moratorium against big-box stores and a 2007 attempt to oust the entire seven-member township board. The first effort was successful; the second wasn't. Meijer spent $46,000 on the 2005 referendum and $55,000 in the 2007 recall.[2]

Corporations are prohibited from contributing to political committees other than those dealing with ballot questions, such as the moratorium. When contributing to a ballot-question group, a corporation must register as a committee.

Meijer has been trying to build the 232,000-square-foot store since 1999 but has been stopped by the township board. Company officials said the secret funding was an aberration and that they have taken steps to prevent it from happening again.

"We are committed to restoring the trust placed in us and serving our communities with the highest level of integrity," company co-Chairman Hank Meijer said in a statement.[2]

New recall petition filed against Detroit mayor

A new recall petition was filed against Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Filer of the petition, Angelo Brown of Detroit, said he wanted to recall the mayor because he is too preoccupied with his legal problems to be effective.

Brown has previously filed recall petitions against the mayor, but none have gone forward. The Wayne County Election Commission is to review the petition's language on April 11. If a previous petition filed by Douglas Joghnson—which was approved, then denied, and is now on appeal—is reinstated at an April 4th scheduled hearing, the second petition would become void, since only one petition can be in play at a time.[4]

Denial of mayoral recall petition appealed

Douglas Johnson, whose approved petition to recall Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was reversed by the Wayne County Elections Commission March 12, is appealing to the Wayne County Circuit Court to have the petition reinstated. An April 4th hearing has been scheduled.

The commission voted 2-1 to deny the recall petition it had already approved when the mayor's lawyers claimed there was no evidence that Johnson is a Detroit resident. The commission had approved the recall language March 5, which cited, in part, the $6.5-million jury award to two police officers who filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against the city. It also said that Kilpatrick misled the City Council into approving an $8.4-million settlement.[5]

Wayne Co. Election Commission rescinds approval of recall petition

The Wayne County Election Commission rescinded its March 5th decision authorizing a recall petition against Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, voting 2-1 scuttle it in response to a challenge from the mayor's lawyers.

Kilpatrick's lawyers said there was no evidence that Douglas Johnson, the recall organizer, is a city resident.

The commission acted against the advice of assistant county attorney Janet Anderson-Davis, who said the commission had no legal authority to reconsider last week’s vote. Anderson-Davis said the mayor had enough time to challenge Johnson’s residency before the March 5th vote. She said the mayor's only legal option was to challenge the commission’s action in Wayne County Circuit Court.

Johnson said he would ask another member of his 25-member recall group—someone whose residency is beyond question—to file a new petition. "I'll have to talk to my wife and other supporters to see if anyone wants to file," he said. "People are afraid."

To get the recall on the ballot, organizers of the effort will need 57,328 signatures of registered Detroit voters.[6]

Detroit Mayor tries to squelch recall petition

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has asked the Wayne County Elections Commission to reconsider its approval of the language of a recall petition aimed at unseating him.

The mayor's attorney said that they believe the voter registration of Douglas Johnson, the man filing the recall, is invalid, which would not allow him to file the petition.

Johnson said the address he used for his voter registration is "my house. It is the house I grew up in," he told The Associated Press Thursday. "Half of my belongings are there and half are in storage." He said he is currently staying with friends in Detroit's Rosedale Park neighborhood while work is being done on the house.[7]

Michigan Senate refuses to allow additional Democratic Candidates

Hillary Clinton will the forerunner for the Democratic primary in Michigan now that the state Senate has refused to take up legislation that would have restored the names of four Democratic presidential candidates to the ballot. Candidates Edwards, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Bill Richardson withdrew last month from the ballot because the state violated Democratic National Committee rules by moving up its election before Feb. 5th.[8]

Activist sues Michigan Democratic party

Martha Hayes, a democratic activist in Michigan has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court as a Kent County resident and party member, claiming the Democratic Party has violated her constitutional right to engage in political activity because its rules led her candidate to withdraw. Hayes' lawsuit seeks to require the party to opt out of the primary and select a nominee in caucuses instead which would include all running candidates. A Democratic Party spokesman has described the lawsuit as "meritless."[9]

Michigan Tax Backlash

In Michigan, small businesses are banding together to petition the government for a referendum regarding the newly increased income tax and the new services tax.[10] There have also been hints of a recall of Governor Jennifer Granholm and the legislators who voted for the tax increase.

Recall petitions rejected in Michigan

Recall petitions targeting state Rep. Steve Bieda were rejected Monday by county officials citing unclear language. The petition language was a single sentence. It was rejected on a 2-1 vote of the Macomb County Election Commission. County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh and county Treasurer Ted Wahby voted against the wording while Probate Judge Pamela Gilbert O'Sullivan dissented. Leon Drolet, director of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, blasted the panel's decision. "The rule of law doesn't matter at these hearings, it's about partisan politics and political party bosses," said Drolet, a Republican county commissioner from Macomb Township.[11]

Petition launched to get Gore on Michigan ballot

Al Gore supporters in Michigan are launching a petition drive to ensure that his name will be on the presidential primary 2008 ballot. The group needs to gather 12,000 in order to succeed.[12] Gore Nomination Petition has increased from 30 supporters to 150 people.[13]

Update: Al Gore has requested that all "sign-in" efforts be stopped.[14]