Secretary Of State Calls Into Question New Ballot Drive Law

From the Associated Press — Michigan’s new secretary of state is calling into question the constitutionality of a Republican-enacted law that makes it harder to initiate ballot drives. Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, sought a formal opinion Tuesday from Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel. Such opinions, while not the same as legal rulings, are considered to bind state agencies unless reversed by a court. The law, which was enacted in December’s lame-duck session, imposes a geographical-based requirement on signature collection. No more than 15 percent of signatures can come from a single congressional district. Benson says she is concerned the law violates people’s constitutional rights by “adding new burdens and restrictions on the process” of circulating initiative, referendum and constitutional amendment petitions. Nessel could limit the law’s effect, though a court fight could be likely.