Michigan Felon Politician Ban Amendment, Proposal 2 (2010)

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Michigan Felon Politician Ban Amendment appeared on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot in Michigan as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment where it was approved.[1][2]

The measure barred any officeholder convicted of a felony involving deceit and fraud from holding public office for 20 years.[3][4] The amendment extended an existing 20-year ban on election of legislative officials who had been convicted of felonies involving "breach of public trust." The proposed amendment also broadened the ban to local and state elective offices and specified "break of public trust" as including dishonesty, deceit and fraud.[5][6]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
Proposal 2 (Felon Politician Ban)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 2,270,657 74.9%
No760,58625.1%

Official results via Michigan Secretary of State

Text of measure

According to the Michigan Secretary of State's office, the ballot text read as follows:[7]

A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO PROHIBIT CERTAIN FELONS FROM HOLDING ELECTIVE OFFICE AND SPECIFIED TYPES OF PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT POSITIONS

The proposed constitutional amendment would:

Make a person ineligible for election or appointment to any state or local elective office or to hold a position in public employment in this state that is policy-making or has discretionary authority over public assets, if:

  • within the preceding 20 years, the person was convicted of a felony involving dishonesty, deceit, fraud, or a breach of the public trust; and
  • the conviction was related to the person’s official capacity while holding any elective office or position of employment in local, state or federal government.

Require the State Legislature to enact laws to implement the prohibition.

Should this proposal be adopted?

Yes __
No __

Support

The measure was sponsored by Sen. Tupac Hunter. Hunter said that although many newspapers reported that the measure was directed at disgraced and convicted former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, it was not his intention to specifically target Kilpatrick, said Hunter, but rather to combat widespread political corruption. "I'm well aware of the ongoing FBI investigations into various city hall scandals, but this isn't the first time we've heard of public corruption in this state. There are people brought up on charges for corruption in local school districts, people in other cities have been brought up on corruption. Now it's up to the public to vote on what standards we will uphold," said Hunter.[1]

Opposition

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Opponents argued that the proposal was unnecessary and overreaching. Specifically they argued that voters should be able to decide on a case-by-case basis whether they wanted to elect someone with a criminal past.[8] Rep. Shanelle Jackson voted against putting the no-felonious-politicians measure on the ballot, saying that politicians with criminal backgrounds deserved a chance if they had turned their lives around.[1]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Michigan ballot measures, 2010

Support

  • The Traverse City Record Eagle said, "Proposal 2 would amend the constitution to prohibit anyone "convicted of a felony involving dishonesty, deceit, fraud, or a breach of the public trust" in the past 20 years (does the name Kwame Kilpatrick ring a bell?) from holding public office."[9]
  • The Detroit Free Press said, "As federal prosecutors press forward in their efforts to identify and punish public corruption, this is not a bad time for Michigan voters to give notice they expect better from elected and appointed officials at every level of government. The Free Press therefore recommends a YES vote on Proposal 2."[10]

Opposition

  • The Toledo Blade was opposed to Proposal 2. In an editorial, the board said, "This amendment may sound sensible. But it would amount to taking just a little more democracy away, and it continues an unwise tradition of enacting constitutional amendments to deal with problems that would be better addressed by changing current law. Michigan residents should vote NO on Proposal 2."[11]
  • The Daily Telegram was opposed to Proposal 2. "Like the medical marijuana amendment, it fails to clearly explain how local officials would track and enforce the statute. We should remember that the worst abuses of office have typically involved officials who were not felons until long after they were elected," said the editorial board.[12]
  • The Press & Argus said, " We don't want crooks in office, but we think this a bit of grandstanding that takes choice out of the hands of the voters. Vote NO."[13]

Polls

See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures
  • An October 20-25, 2010 poll, conducted by EPIC-MRA, revealed that 76% supported Proposal 2, while 19% were opposed and 5% were undecided. A total of 600 registered voters were polled. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.[14]
Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
Oct. 20-25, 2010 EPIC-MRA 76% 19% 5% 600

Path to the ballot

See also: How the Michigan Constitution is amended

To place the measure on the ballot a minimum two-thirds vote was required in both the House and the Senate. The Senate voted unanimously (35-0) on June 10 in favor of putting the Felonious Politicians Ban on the ballot.[5][15][16] On Thursday, June 17, the Michigan House of Representatives voted 91-13 to place the measure on the November ballot.[17][18]

See also

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Articles

External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Detroit News, "Voters get say on felons in office", June 18, 2010
  2. The Michigan Daily,"Michiganders vote yes on felon law, no on ConCon," November 2, 2010
  3. Detroit Free Press,"Michigan Senate OKs 20-year ban on corrupt public officials," June 10, 2010
  4. MLive.com,"'Kwame Amendment' to Michigan Constitution would ban felon politicians for 20 years," June 11, 2010
  5. 5.0 5.1 Detroit Free Press,"Felons could be kept out of office," June 11, 2010
  6. The State Column,"Michigan may ban certain candidates from office," October 3, 2010
  7. Michigan Secretary of State,"Statewide Ballot Propositions," retrieved October 22, 2010
  8. Associated Press,"Mich. proposal would ban criminal public officials," October 3, 2010
  9. http://record-eagle.com/opinion/x1099038592/Yes-on-both-Michigan-proposals Record Eagle,"'Yes' on both Michigan proposals," October 26, 2010]
  10. Detroit Free Press,"Yes on state Proposal 2," October 1, 2010
  11. Toledo Blade,"No on Michigan proposal," October 9, 2010
  12. The Daily Telegram,"Our View: Vote 'no' on state's two ballot proposals," October 21, 2010
  13. Livingston Daily,"Recapping our endorsements for Tuesday's vote," October 31, 2010
  14. 9&10 News,"Poll: Measure to rewrite Mich. constitution trails," October 28, 2010
  15. Associated Press,"Proposal would crack down on felon politicians," June 10, 2010
  16. Detroit Free Press,"Michigan Senate OKs 20-year ban on corrupt public officials," June 10, 2010
  17. Detroit Free Press, "20-year ban for convicted officials to go before voters", June 18, 2010
  18. Detroit Free Press,"House OKs ban on felon politicians," June 17, 2010