July 10, 2022
The Legislature recessed on July 1 and is scheduled to reconvene for one day on July 20, then off for some more weeks before another one-day session on August 17. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of political activity elsewhere, including on the campaign trail.
AUGUST 2 PRIMARY
Michigan’s statewide primary is Tuesday, August 2. In this primary election, a voter must choose either the Democratic Party section or the Republican Party section on their ballot. There, a voter will find opportunities to vote for the party’s nominee for Governor, Congressional Representative, State Senator, State Representative, County Treasurer, County Commissioner, and Delegate to the party’s county convention. In many jurisdictions, there will be local proposals on the ballot so be sure to check both sides of your ballot. Crossing over to vote in both party sections, even for one office, will invalidate that part of the ballot.
The Michigan Voter Information Center at www.michigan.gov/vote provides important information for voters ahead of Election Day, including a sample ballot, information about how to use voting equipment, and how to contact your local clerk.
Absentee Voting — Michigan voters can cast their ballot from home or vote early in person by absentee ballot at their local clerk’s office.
Voters who already received an absentee ballot should complete it, sign the back of the envelope using their official signature on file with the Secretary of State (check your driver’s license for your official signature), and mail it or drop it off at their local clerk’s office or official drop box. If mailing back your ballot and pre-paid postage is not provided on the return envelope, it will take two stamps to cover the cost of mailing.
If a voter hasn’t received an absentee ballot and would like one, the voter can request an absentee ballot. Make the request in person at the voter’s local city or township clerk’s office or online at www.michigan.gov/vote. To ensure the absentee ballot arrives in time, voters should request an absentee ballot by July 18 to avoid potential mailing delays. If voters choose to go in person to their local clerk’s office, they can fill out their absentee ballot and submit it in the same visit.
Voters can check the status of their absentee ballot application or absentee ballot online at www.michigan.gov/vote or by calling their city or township election clerk.
Register to Vote or Change Voting Address — Eligible Michigan citizens 18 or older by August 2 can register to vote online at www.michigan.gov/vote until July 18, or at their local clerk’s office through 8 p.m. on Election Day. The same process is used to change voting address.
Absentee Voting Activity — The Secretary of State is reporting that as of July 5, more than 875,000 absentee ballot requests had been made for the August 2 election, an increase of about 370,000 requests over 2018. This is attributable to the adoption of no-reason absentee voting by voters in the 2018 election and more voters becoming familiar with how to do absentee voting during the 2020 election at the height of the pandemic.
In-person Voting — Voters can also cast their ballots in person at their designated polling place on Election Day, August 2. Your polling place is on your new voter identification card or can be found at www.michigan.gov/vote. Due to redistricting, your voting districts and polling place may have changed. Polls will be open on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
BALLOT PROPOSAL UPDAT
As reported last month, there is already one proposed Constitutional amendment ballot proposal approved by 2/3 vote of the Michigan Legislature for the November 8 ballot. Proposal 2022-1 would require annual financial disclosure reports by legislators and other State officers and limit service as a legislator to 12 years instead of 14 years. The latter could be served in one or both chambers.
Three More — One proposed statute and two other proposed Constitutional amendment ballot proposals have submitted their petition signatures and may be on the ballot.
Michiganders for Fair Lending: Michiganders for Fair Lending, which would cap payday loans at 36 percent APR from the current 370 percent, collected over 575,000 petition signatures and submitted 405,625. The measure needs 340,047 valid voter signatures. If the Bureau of Elections recommends certification, and the Board of State Canvassers agrees, the measure will go to the Legislature. If the Legislature does not enact the measure in 40 session days, it will appear on the November general election ballot.
Promote the Vote 2022 (PTV22): PTV22 would:
PTV22 submitted nearly 670,000 signatures and needed only 425,059 valid voter signatures. PTV22 has been endorsed by the Michigan SERA Coordinating Council. Many SERA members volunteered to collect petition signatures or signed the petition. More information is available at www.promotethevotemi.com.
Reproductive Freedom for All (RFFA): RFFA would:
RFFA collected 911,00 signatures, a record for Michigan, and submitted over 750,000, far exceeding the required 425,059 valid voter signatures. More information is available at www.mireproductivefreedom.org.
Helping RFFA collect its signatures was the public response to the June 24, 2022, U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. It overturned the high court’s 49-year precedent in Roe v. Wade and subsequent case law ensuring the legality of abortion on a national basis. As a result, each state may regulate reproductive matters. In Michigan there is a 1931 criminal abortion statute still on the books that bans abortion except to preserve the life of the woman. A recent Planned Parenthood challenge to the 1931 law has resulted in a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of the law during litigation of whether Michigan’s Constitution ensures equal protection and privacy rights for women in reproductive matters.
Next Steps — The Bureau of Elections will draw a sample of voter signatures from the total petition signatures submitted for each of the three proposals. Those will be checked against Michigan’s Qualified Voter File. The Bureau will then extrapolate the sample percentage of valid voter signatures to the overall number of signatures submitted to make a recommendation to the Board of State Canvassers whether the sponsoring ballot committee has the requisite valid voter signatures. Whatever the Board decides, lawsuits could be subsequently filed to dispute the Board’s decision. Ballot language must go to print early in September.
Board of State Canvassers — Republican Norm Shinkle of Williamston resigned from the Board of State Canvassers after 13 years of service so he can run for election to the Michigan House 73rd district against incumbent Democrat Julie Brixie of Okemos. Shinkle most recently served as chair of the Board and was the sole vote not to certify the 2020 election by abstaining. The Michigan Republican Party has nominated three candidates from which the Governor will appoint a replacement for Shinkle. The next scheduled meeting of the Board is July 21.
RECORD BUDGET PASSES EARLY
In a dramatic late night/early morning session on June 30 - July 1, the Legislature passed a full budget for Fiscal Year 2022-23. The budget leverages federal funds and an increase in State tax revenues to make targeted spending surges in K-12 and higher education, mental health programs, workforce shortages, and economic development priorities with a major dose of money for infrastructure and pension debt relief. Highlights of the largest State budget in history at $76.7 billion include:
The budget leaves the State with approximately $7 billion remaining in unspent funds. There is no agreement yet on tax relief such as elimination or reduction of the pension tax. Modification of the cap of $300 on defined benefit State employee pensions was also missing from the budget deal.
The Governor is expected to veto certain line items that reduce gubernatorial powers, a repetitive theme in budget negotiations.
STATE RETIREE RETURN TO WORK
House Bill 6132 that would have permitted State employee defined benefit retirees to return to State employment after six months of retirement without forfeiting their pension benefit is on hold after State employee unions opposed the bill. SERA put in a card supporting the bill.
At present, retirants from some State departments and agencies who are rehired to fulfill certain roles, or those retirants who meet certain criteria to work in specific roles within these departments and agencies, may receive their pension benefits during their post-retirement employment with the State: Department of Attorney General, Department of Corrections, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (Michigan Unemployment Agency), Department of Natural Resources, Legislative Service Bureau, and the Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
Return to top of page