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Politics & Government

As Michigan petitions struggle to meet requirements, a look at how other states do it

Signatures are collected for the MI Legalize campaign.
Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio
Signatures are collected for the MI Legalize campaign.

As a citizen, you have a right to petition the government for redress of grievances. At the state level, that right and the right to put referenda on the ballot can be restricted or, in some cases, circumvented.
Paul Jacob has been active in the Libertarian Party and currently serves on the boards of Citizens in Charge, a non-partisan group working to protect and expand voter initiative rights, and the Citizens in Charge Foundation, a charitable foundation conducting research on the initiative process, educating the public and litigating to defend petition rights. He was the founder of both groups.

Recently, the Michigan Legislature implemented a 180-day time period for signature collecting. Groups have indicated that’s too restrictive. How common is such a restriction in other states, and how reasonable is that restriction? And how does Michigan compare to other states in the ability of voters to petition government or get referenda on the ballot? 

Paul Jacob answers those questions and more in the full interview above. 

GUEST: Paul Jacob is a board member for Citizens in Charge

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