Michigan Constitutional Convention, Proposal 1 (2010)
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Section 3 of Article XII of the Michigan Constitution mandates that Michigan's voters be asked every sixteen years whether they want a constitutional convention. The last time the question was asked was in 1994, when voters rejected Proposal A by 28 percent to 72 percent. Voters similarly rejected the idea of calling a convention by 76.7% in 1978.
- See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
Stay tuned for election results on November 2, 2010:
|Proposal 1 (Con Con)|
|Result not yet known|
Results via Michigan Secretary of State.
Text of measure
A PROPOSAL TO CONVENE A CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE PURPOSE OF DRAFTING A GENERAL REVISION OF THE STATE CONSTITUTION
Shall a convention of elected delegates be convened in 2011 to draft a general revision of the State Constitution for presentation to the state’s voters for their approval or rejection?
Supporters of Proposal 1, led by the Yes on Proposal 1 campaign committee, argue that it is time to modernize the Michigan Constitution and a constitutional convention would offer the opportunity to do so. They also highlight the fact that constitutional conventions are not unusual in Michigan; the state has had six since statehood with one on average every 33 years.
Senator Tom George introduced legislation that would handle the administrative and procedural elements of a constitutional convention, including the pay of delegates -- $1 a month, should Proposal 1 pass. As co-chairman of Yes on Proposal 1, George has been one of the leading voices in support of a constitutional convention. "Michigan's 21st century challenges require 21st century solutions. A constitutional convention allows us to wipe the slate clean and start anew," said George.
Governor Jennifer Granholm supports a constitutional convention. Granholm argues that the state's current government is based on a manufacturing-based economic model, a model that she says no longer exists. The constitutional convention, she said, would provide for an opportunity to modernize the Michigan Constitution. According to her office, Granholm "believes the state of Michigan is dramatically different than it was in 1961, and we need a foundation document that reflects the 21st century. Having a constitutional convention would help set the stage for a streamlined government that moves Michigan forward in a comprehensive way."
A group dominated by registered lobbyists, unions and trade associations has formed Citizens Protecting Michigan's Constitution to oppose Proposal 1. Opponents of the automatic ballot referral argue that a "yes" vote would allow for special interests to play too large of a role in re-writing the state constitution.
Joseph G. Lehman, president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, argues that a constitutional convention won't fix Michigan's problems, as argued by proponents. "Michigan has serious problems, but they should be fixed without a constitutional convention. The problem with Michigan government isn't so much what's under the hood, it's what we're letting the driver get away with. If your teenage driver is irresponsible, no mechanic can change that. Instead, you need better control and accountability of the driver," said Lehman.
Rich Studley, chief executive officer of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, argues that the state's deficit and the status of the economy is reason enough to reject the proposed measure. According to Studley, the chamber of commerce is currently working with business, labor and service groups to oppose the proposed constitutional convention.
Opponents said that although there is no doubt that the government needs structural changes, such changes can be made through executive order or legislation on a case-by-case basis. Andy Johnston, director of legislative affairs at the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, said that the uncertainty of a constitutional convention could potentially scare away businesses. "It certainly isn’t what businesses like, especially those looking to make an investment in Michigan," said Johnston.
Media editorial positions
- The Detroit Free Press supports Proposal 1. In an editorial, the board wrote, "Opponents of a convention sometimes suggest that the Constitution can be fixed gradually, through the amendment process. But lawmakers will never propose any of the fixes themselves, and moneyed interest groups will not propose and fund campaigns for most of the needed changes because they're happy with the current political landscape. If you can envision a different Legislature -- and who in Michigan can't these days -- you'll want to vote in favor of a constitutional convention."
- The Jackson Citizen Patriot endorsed a constitutional convention, saying, "This process can lead to a better, more nimble governmental structure to help job creation. It could make changes that consider the huge technological advances that have occurred since 1963. Before the process ends, companies looking to move to Michigan should be impressed by this state’s willingness to reinvent itself. A constitutional convention can start to tackle people’s frustrations with Michigan government at all levels. The public should support much-needed reform by voting yes on Proposal 1."
- The Midland Daily News supports Proposal 1. An endorsement in August said, "The question is, after more than 45 years, is it time for another review of Michigan's constitution. The answer is an unequivocal yes."
- The Oakland Press supports the proposed constitutional convention. In an editorial, the board wrote,"A new constitution would give us a chance to fix some of the lingering problems in Lansing...Also, a constitutional convention could examine such innovative changes as a part-time legislature and revamping our tax structure to help attract business...Voters need to remember that, yes, it will cost the state some money to have a Constitutional Convention but the potential for successful change is priceless."
- The Blade endorsed Proposal 1, saying, "Michigan voters should try to fix what's clearly broken. The Blade urges a YES vote on Proposal 1, for a state constitutional convention."
- The Saginaw Valley Journal supports Proposal 1. "The economy is the worst in the country. Young people and families are leaving at unprecedented levels. Schools are broke. Police and firefighters are being laid off. Government at all levels is dysfunctional. Proposal 1 on the Nov. 2 general election ballot is the state’s one chance — perhaps its last chance — to, in the words of Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder, reinvent herself...Without a constitutional convention, Michigan’s challenges will only worsen. Thus we endorse Proposal 1 and encourage our readers to vote YES," said the editorial board.
- The Bay City Times said, "It’s a chance to debate weaknesses in our constitution and to answer perennial questions such as the value and the harm of our term limits amendment for state lawmakers. In the end, it’s the people’s choice in some future ballot measure whether to accept the proposed changes, or to reject them. When so much is wrong in Michigan, our state has an opportunity to consider righting our listing ship of state government. Or, simply tweak what is in the constitution and call it good for another 16 years. On Nov. 2, a Constitutional Convention has our vote."
- The Holland Sentinel is opposed to Proposal 1. In an editorial, the board said, "...in our view Michigan’s problems don’t stem from poorly written rules but from the irresponsibility of too many of the officials we elect to serve in Lansing. We need better players more than new rules, and it’s up to voters to do that. Sure, we’d like to see changes to the state constitution, but they can be added one at a time through the amendment process...A new constitution won’t cure what ails Michigan government — it may even harm the patient. We urge voters to say 'no' to Proposal 1."
- The Detroit News opposes the proposed measure. In an editorial, the board said, "Well-focused constitutional amendments are a better way to update the Constitution or deal with any problems that may arise than creating a whole new document. This is an era in which various interest groups are focused on single issues, often to the detriment of the greater good. Many would want their issues enshrined in a new constitution, reducing the ability of state lawmakers to deal with problems as they occur. This is a risk the state does not need now. Vote No on Proposal 1.
- The Daily Telegram is opposed to Proposal 1. "Michigan already has the means to make major changes. There is no reason to vaguely assume that an expensive convention would be any better at solving issues and avoiding special interests," said the editorial board.
- The Press & Argus said, "The basic problem facing Michigan is a crisis in leadership; it's the elected leaders who are dropping the ball. A constitutional convention won't change that. Vote NO."
- See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures
- An August 9-10, 2010 poll, conducted by Glengariff Group and sponsored by Detroit News-WDIV, revealed that of 600 polled Michigan voters 46% supported the proposed constitutional convention, while 32% were opposed and 26% were undecided. The poll was conducted via telephone and is reported to have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
- An August 21-23, 2010 poll, conducted by EPIC-MRA, revealed that 43% of polled voters would vote "no" on Proposal 1, while 35% said they would vote "yes" and 24% remained undecided. A total of 600 registered voters were polled. According to reports, the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.
|Date of Poll||Pollster||In favor||Opposed||Undecided||Number polled|
|August 9-10, 2010||Glengariff Group Inc.||46%||32%||26%||600|
|August 21-23, 2010||EPIC-MRA||35%||43%||24%||600|
|Oct. 20-25, 2010||EPIC-MRA||31%||57%||12%||600|
Path to the ballot
|Constitutional conventions on the ballot in 2010|
Constitutional convention ballot propositions are a form of automatic ballot referral in some states whose constitutions state that every so often, a statewide ballot proposition must be placed on the general election ballot asking the voters of the state if they wish to have a constitutional convention. In Michigan, the measure appears on the ballot at 16-year intervals.
- Constitutional convention questions on the 2010 ballot
- Constitutional convention questions on the Michigan ballot
- Myths and realities of Constitutional Conventions discussed in Washington D.C.
- Michigan Senator prepares bills for possible constitutional convention
- Yes on Proposal 1
- Ballot proposal status page
- Analysis of Proposal 1 by Citizens Research Council of Michigan
- The Detroit News,"Support light for new state constitution," October 20, 2010
- The Grand Rapids Press,"What other states have done about constitutional conventions," October 10, 2010
- AnnArbor.com,"Ballot links: Michigan's Constitutional Convention, Proposal 1," October 5, 2010
- Associated Press,"Michigan news: Rules for revised constitution sought," April 1, 2010
- Lansing State Journal,"Byrum: Constitutional Convention would put end to our progress," September 26, 2010
- Detroit Free Press,"Logie/Watkins: The 1963 Constitution has grown ineffective," September 26, 2010
- Detroit Free Press,"Michigan needs constitutional convention," August 13, 2010
- The Detroit News,"Michigan constitutional convention up for vote," February 1, 2010
- Detroit News, "Coalition forms to fight Mich. constitutional convention", June 15, 2010
- Ionia Sentinel Standard,"Constitutional Question," October 6, 2010
- Michigan Secretary of State,"Statewide Ballot Propositions," retrieved October 22, 2010
- Associated Press,"Michigan constitutional convention bills develop," June 1, 2010
- The Detroit News,"GOP group fights party's bid to block constitutional convention," August 25, 2010
- Michigan Radio,"Gov. Granholm Supports Rewriting Michigan's Constitution," June 3, 2010
- Spinal Column,"Area voters to weigh in on November 2 ballot questions," October 20, 2010
- WLNS, "Coalition opposes state Constitutional Convention", June 14, 2010
- Mackinac Center for Public Policy,"Constitutional Convention Won’t Fix Michigan’s Problems," April 13, 2010
- MichiganLive.com,"Coalition forming to oppose ballot proposal for state constitutional convention," June 9, 2010
- The Detroit Free Press,"Find ways to repair dysfunctional Legislature," September 30, 2010
- The Jackson Citizen Patriot,"Endorsement: Yes on Proposal 1," October 15, 2010
- Midland Daily News,"Our view: Need for constitutional convention clear, but ...," August 26, 2010
- The Oakland Press,"Editorial: Revised constitution could help Michigan," October 11, 2010
- The Blade,"Yes to 'Con-Con'," October 2, 2010
- The Saginaw Valley Journal,"Endorsement: Vote Yes On Michigan’s Proposal 1," October 19, 2010
- The Bay City Times,"Endorsement: Proposal 1: Time is right for a Constitutional Convention in Michigan," October 31, 2010
- The Holland Sentinel,"OUR VIEW — A constitutional convention won’t cure what ails Michigan," September 20, 2010
- The Detroit News,"Editorial: Mich. voters should avoid the disruption of a constitutional convention," September 26, 2010
- The Daily Telegram,"Our View: Vote 'no' on state's two ballot proposals," October 21, 2010
- Livingston Daily,"Recapping our endorsements for Tuesday's vote," October 31, 2010
- The Detroit News,"Michigan general election survey results," August 11, 2010
- The Detroit News,"Poll: Backing for state constitutional convention looks iffy," August 12, 2010
- The Detroit News,"Early support for constitutional convention may not last," August 11, 2010
- Associated Press,"Proposal to redo Mich. constitution trails in poll," August 27, 2010
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