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Official Ballot Proposal Language

Aug 10, 2018

The Michigan Department of State has announced the timeline regarding ballot language for the certified ballots that will appear on November’s general election ballot. Under state law, the Director of Elections is tasked with drafting the language, then the State Board of Canvassers reviews the language and votes to approve or disapprove. “Drafting ballot language is no easy task. The department has to juggle properly explaining the proposal, in a concise and easy to understand manner, all while remain impartial,” explained Tony Des Chenes of MLC.

There are set guidelines for the makeup of the language. There are two components; the first is the 100 words referenced in the State Constitution and the statute; the second is the caption which does not have a word count limit. Prior to drafting, the Director of Elections accepts suggested language and explanatory material to consider during the drafting process.

Currently, there are three certified ballot proposals; creation of a redistricting commission, the legalization of marijuana, and mandatory paid sick leave. The deadline to submit language or explanatory materials is August 13 at 5 p.m. If you wish to provide either bits of information, you can email elections@michigan.gov.

While the date for the Board of State Canvassers to meet to consider the language is not yet set, the Secretary of State must certify the 100-word statement of purpose to the county clerks by September 7.

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