Once every ten years, the US Constitution requires a count of all persons residing in the country for the purpose of reapportioning the US House of Representatives. The Census Bureau uses this count to determine how many house seats each state is entitled to. From there, each state draws its own congressional maps using the census data; here in Michigan, we have an independent citizens redistricting commission to draw both congressional districts and state house and senate districts. Read More ›
As the Michigan Legislature continues to explore election reform, one bill has received near unanimous bipartisan support in the House. House Bill 4528 requires political parties, organizations, committees and their members to complete comprehensive training before serving as election challengers. Read More ›
Revisiting Reed v Town of Gilbert & Its Impact on Local Sign Regulations
The 2020 election is over, but politically motivated signs – including signs with controversial or even profane language – are still everywhere. Although many municipalities have sign ordinances, those ordinances might not be enforceable if they are based on the content of the message. Read More ›
Michigan Election Law (MEL) regulates every aspect of voting, including what happens to a ballot after it is cast. As one Michigan township clerk recently found out, if those rules are not closely followed, clerks and other election officials could be facing misdemeanor charges. Read More ›
Michigan House Passes Election Law Reforms Addressing Reportable Conditions, Precinct Sizes, and AV Counting Boards
The Michigan House of Representatives has introduced and passed, with wide bipartisan support, a number of election reform bills. The bulk of the bills are in response to a 2019 report issued by the Michigan Office of the Auditor General (“OAG Report”). The OAG Report identified three “reportable conditions” and one “material condition”; House Bills 4127-31 attempt to correct the reportable conditions (the material condition is an internal access issue and is being resolved administratively). Separately, the House passed HB 4134 to increase the size of precincts and HB 4135 to amend the rules for absent voter counting boards. Read More ›
In the months leading up to this election, Michigan has seen a number of changes to the election process promulgated by the Legislature, Governor, courts, Secretary of State, and even the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The good news – many of the changes will not be noticeable to most voters.
Foster Swift’s election law team has put together a short summary of the most important changes for voters and election administrators to be aware: Read More ›
Bill Passes Michigan Senate, Allowing Qualifying Cities and Townships to Process Absentee Ballots Prior to Election Day
Social distancing and precautionary measures taken by citizens across the state has moved voting from the ballot box to the mail box. As a result, local government officials in Michigan are anticipating record numbers of mail-in ballots for this November’s general election. According to Michigan Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, over 2.1 million absentee ballots have already been requested—far surpassing the 1.2 million requested in the 2016 presidential election.
Given this unprecedented influx of absentee voting, local government officials tasked with processing ballots have begun to express concern over the logistical issues which may arise on Election Day. In response to this concern, the Michigan Legislature has begun to take action. Read More ›
Judge Kathleen Feeney, a sitting 17th Circuit Judge (Kent County), recently won her lawsuit to be given the incumbency designation for the upcoming November election. Additionally, she will be listed separately on the ballot. Judge Feeney is seeking reelection to the bench where she has sat since her initial appointment in 2000. Read More ›
Each election year provides public bodies, such as townships, school districts, and libraries, an opportunity to seek voter approval for extra-voted on millages and bond proposals. Once the decision is made to put a millage or bond proposal on the ballot, public bodies and their officials must walk a fine line between informing residents of the need for and importance of new funds and advocating for a certain position. The Michigan Campaign Finance Act (MCFA) focuses on preventing public bodies and their employees from using taxpayer dollars to place their thumb on the scale of one view in any election or campaign. This includes any primary, general, special, or millage election held in this state. Read More ›
It’s nearly Primary Election Day 2020 for Michigan voters. Soon voters across the state are set to choose nominees for each party to stand in November’s general election. Michigan laws help ensure elections are free and fair by guaranteeing the right to vote to all persons present and preventing electioneering near the polling place. From the trivial to the serious, here are some of the things candidates and voters should be considering from the time they line up to when they walk out the door proudly wearing their “I Voted” sticker. Read More ›