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If there is an issue that you think should become a law, you don’t have to wait until your state legislature agrees with you. You can let the voters decide by filing a ballot initiative. Your direct action can qualify your measure to be on the ballot in the next statewide election.

Last updated on: December 20, 2020

The following is a brief overview of the ballot initiative process in the state of Michigan.

Constitutional Provisions

The Michigan state constitution allows for both statutory and constitutional amendment petitions. Article 2, Section 9, gives the right for the people to propose laws through the initiative process. Then, Article 12, Section 2, gives registered voters the right to propose constitutional amendments through petition.

The Secretary of State website continually updates the initiative petition process. You can find updates both here and on the Initiative and Referendum Petition Instructions sheet

In 2020, the deadline to file a statutory initiative petition was May 27. The signature requirement was 340,047. The deadline to file a constitutional amendment initiative petition was July 6. The signature requirement was 425,059.

In Michigan, you can file an initiative petition with the Secretary of State’s office for approval. When you receive approval, the petition may be circulated within the state.

You will need to gather signatures no sooner than 180 days prior to filing the initiative petition. There is no requirement for circulators to be citizens in the state of Michigan. 

For more specifics regarding the formatting and filing requirements for initiative petitions, please visit the Michigan Secretary of State’s website.

Local Ballot Initiatives

Michigan allows the ballot initiative process at the local level. To learn more about the initiative process in your city, please refer to your local government.