Michigan Redistricting Process

Congressional and Legislative

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission draws the state’s legislative and congressional maps. The 13-member commission is made of four republicans, four democrats, and five members who are independent or members of third parties. The Commission must hold at least ten public hearings throughout the state for the purpose of soliciting comments, information and plan proposals before drafting any plan. After drafting a proposed plan, the Commission must then hold at least five more public hearings throughout the state. Underlying data about plans must be publicly available. The votes of seven Commissioners are required to enact any plan. At least two members of each party must vote for a plan for it to be enacted.

If the Commission is unable to enact a plan, then the Commissioners must rank a set of plans. Each Commissioner may submit one plan. The plans are then scored based upon their rank with those ranked last getting a score of 1 and those ranked first receiving a score equal to the total number of plans ranked (a maximum of 13). The plan receiving the highest number of points is enacted as long as the plan is in the top half of the plans scored by two members of the other major political party. If the highest scoring plan is submitted by one of the five unaffiliated members then the plan must be in the top half of those plans ranked by two members of one of the major political party commissioners. If two plans are tied, then the Secretary of State must randomly select one of the plans. If no plan meets the criteria, then the Secretary of State will randomly select one plan from all the proposed plans.

The Michigan Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over all challenges to the enacted plans.

The commission is composed of individuals selected through a complex process overseen by the Secretary of State.

The Secretary of State must continue to recruit members until there are 30 republicans, 30 democrats, and 40 unaffiliated/third-party applicants deemed qualified to serve. Michigan voters and eligible voters are eligible to apply as long as they have not been, in the past six years, a declared candidate for partisan federal, state, or local office; an elected official to partisan federal, state, or local office; an officer or member of the governing body of a national, state, or local political party; a paid consultant or employee of a federal, state, or local elected official or political candidate, of a federal, state, or local political candidate’s campaign, or of a political action committee; an employee of the legislature; and person who is registered as a lobbyist agent with the Michigan Bureau of Elections, or any employee of such person; or an unclassified state employee who is exempt from classification in state civil service pursuant to Article XI, Section 5, except for employees of courts of record, employees of the state institutions of higher education, and persons in the armed forces of the state. Parents, stepparents, children, stepchildren, and spouses of any of the disqualified individuals above may not be commissioners either.

Once a pool of at least 30 republicans, 30 democrats, and 40 unaffiliated/third-party applicants is populated the majority and minority leaders of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, and the minority leader of the House may each strike five applicants.

The Secretary of State must then randomly select four republicans, four democrats, and five unaffiliated/third-party applicants who become the commissioners.

Source: Mich. Const. art. IV, § 6.

Ballot Measure Process

Kinds of Ballot Measures
Indirect initiatives and referendums are permitted to amend statutes. Direct initiatives are not permitted to amend the state Constitution. Legislatively initiated ballot measures may amend both statutes and the Constitution.

Single-Subject Rule
There is not a single-subject rule.

Initiative Subject Restrictions
Initiatives must be applicable to laws that the Legislature may enact; referendums cannot target bills that incorporated appropriations for state institutions or state funds.

Signature Requirements
The signature requirement for constitutional amendments is 10% of all votes cast for all candidates for governor in the previous gubernatorial election at which a governor was elected, 8% for all other initiatives, and 5% for a veto referendum. 4,250,585 people voted for a candidate for governor in the 2018 General Election in Michigan, so 425,059 signatures are required for constitutional amendments, 340,047 signatures are required for any other initiative, and 212,530 signatures are required for a veto referendum.

Submission Deadlines
Constitutional amendments must be submitted not less than 120 days prior to the general election in which the measure is to be placed on the ballot (July 11, 2022), and 160 days for statutes (June 1, 2022). Referendums must be submitted within 90 days after the end of the legislative session at which the law was enacted.

Circulation Period
The circulation period for initiative petitions is 120 days.

Ballot Title and Summary
The Ballot Title and Summary are written by the proponent and approved by the Board of Canvassers. Expedited reviews for Titles and Summaries are permitted.

Other Requirements
A fiscal impact statement is not required. There are no supermajority requirements. The Legislature can, by a three-fourths vote in both chambers, make changes to or repeal statutes passed by voters. To make a change to or repeal an amendment passed by voters, the Legislature must send an amendment it has passed by a two-thirds majority vote to the ballot. Referendums cannot target acts making appropriations for state institutions and they cannot be meant to meet deficiencies in state funds. Initiatives are permitted on general election ballots, but not on primary, special, or odd-year election ballots.

Source: Mich. Const. art. II, §9; art. 12, §2. Mich. Comp. Laws, § 168.116.XXII (2020). Michigan Initiative and Referendum Petition Instructions

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