The Michigan House has approved state Rep. Bradley Slagh’s plan to place reasonable timelines for certifying signatures by the Secretary of State as it relates to initiative petitions.
The measure would require the Bureau of Elections to review, and the Board of State Canvassers to completely canvass, initiative petitions within 90 days of submission or 120 days if the petition was submitted within 45 days of a general election.
“According to the secretary of state herself, the average timeline for review and approval of past petitions has been around 100 days. The timeline laid out in this plan gives the department ample time to do a thorough review of the signatures,” Slagh said. “Citizens collect signatures within mandated timelines and should be able to expect the department to perform its work within a reasonable and established amount of time as well.”
A recent citizens’ initiative that would repeal the governor’s emergency powers awaited the Secretary of State’s review for six months, as there is no mandated approval timeline currently in place for review of initiative petitions.
“That timeframe along with no standards is simply unacceptable. With no required approval timeline, it is even possible to imagine that Secretary of State Benson purposely delayed the approval process of the petitions because it could ultimately restrict our governor,” Slagh said. “This reform will give people confidence in our system of democracy and ensure their voices are heard.”
House Bill 4200 now advances to the Senate.
“I was excited to vote yes for the citizens’ initiative repealing the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act. This act was used in ways that usurped the checks and balances that are guaranteed in our state’s constitution. One person should never have the power to silence the voice of the people and eliminate the ability for the Legislature to enact policies for the betterment of our state.”