HOUSE BILL NO. 5565

March 13, 2024, Introduced by Reps. Phil Green, Bezotte, Wozniak and Bierlein and referred to the Committee on Government Operations.

A bill to amend 1954 PA 116, entitled

"Michigan election law,"

by amending sections 409b, 409l, 424, 424a, 433, 444, 467b, 467c, 467m, 561, and 696 (MCL 168.409b, 168.409l, 168.424, 168.424a, 168.433, 168.444, 168.467b, 168.467c, 168.467m, 168.561, and 168.696), sections 409b, 433, 467b, and 467c as amended by 2018 PA 120, sections 409l, 424, 444, and 467m as amended by 2014 PA 94, section 424a as amended by 1999 PA 218, section 561 as amended by 2002 PA 163, and section 696 as amended by 2017 PA 113; and to repeal acts and parts of acts.

the people of the state of michigan enact:

Sec. 409b. (1) To obtain the printing of the name of a qualified person individual other than an incumbent judge of the court of appeals as a candidate for nomination for the office of judge of the court of appeals upon on the official nonpartisan primary ballots, there must be filed with the secretary of state nominating petitions containing the signatures, addresses, and dates of signing of a number of qualified and registered electors residing in the appellate court district as determined under section 544f. The provisions of sections 544a and 544b apply. The secretary of state shall receive nominating petitions up to 4 p.m. on the fifteenth Tuesday before the primary.

(2) Nominating petitions filed under this section are valid only if they clearly indicate for which of the following offices the candidate is filing, consistent with subsection (8):

(a) An unspecified existing judgeship for which the incumbent judge is seeking election.

(b) An unspecified existing judgeship for which the incumbent judge is not seeking election.

(c) A new judgeship.

(2) (3) Nominating petitions specifying a new or existing court of appeals judgeship may not be used to qualify a candidate for another judicial office of the same court in the same judicial district. A person An individual who files nominating petitions for election to more than 1 court of appeals judgeship has not more than 3 days following the close of filing to withdraw from all but 1 filing.

(4) In a primary and general election for 2 or more judgeships where more than 1 of the categories in subsection (2) could be selected, a candidate shall apply to the bureau of elections for a written statement of office designation to correspond to the judgeship sought by the candidate. The office designation provided by the secretary of state must be included in the heading of all nominating petitions. Nominating petitions containing an improper office designation are invalid.

(5) The secretary of state shall issue an office designation of incumbent position for any judgeship for which the incumbent judge is eligible to seek reelection. If an incumbent judge does not file an affidavit of candidacy by the deadline, the secretary of state shall notify all candidates for that office that a nonincumbent position exists. All nominating petitions circulated for the nonincumbent position subsequent to the deadline must bear an office designation of nonincumbent position. All signatures collected before the affidavit of candidacy filing deadline may be filed with the nonincumbent nominating petitions.

(3) (6) An incumbent judge of the court of appeals may become a candidate in the primary election for the office of which he or she the judge is the incumbent by filing with the secretary of state an affidavit of candidacy not less than 134 days before the date of the primary election. However, if an incumbent judge of the court of appeals was appointed to fill a vacancy and the judge entered upon the duties of the office less than 137 days before the date of the primary election but before the fifteenth Tuesday before the primary election, the incumbent judge may file the affidavit of candidacy not more than 3 days after entering upon the duties of office. The affidavit of candidacy must contain statements that the affiant is an incumbent judge of the court of appeals, is domiciled within the district, will not attain the age of 70 by the date of election, and is a candidate for election to the office of judge of the court of appeals.

(7) In the primary and general November election for 2 or more judgeships of the court of appeals in a judicial district, each of the following categories of candidates must be listed separately on the ballot, consistent with subsection (8):

(a) The names of candidates for the judgeship or judgeships for which the incumbent is seeking election.

(b) The names of candidates for the judgeship or judgeships for which the incumbent is not seeking election.

(c) The names of candidates for a newly created judgeship or judgeships.

(8) If the death or disqualification of an incumbent judge triggers the application of section 409d(2), then for the purposes of subsections (2) and (7), that judgeship must be regarded as a judgeship for which the incumbent judge is not seeking election. The application of this subsection includes, but is not limited to, circumstances in which the governor appoints an individual to fill the vacancy and that individual seeks to qualify as a nominee under section 409d(2).

Sec. 409l. (1) If a vacancy occurs in the office of judge of the court of appeals, the governor shall appoint a successor to fill the vacancy. Except as otherwise provided in section 409b(8), the person The individual appointed by the governor shall be considered is an incumbent for purposes of this act. The person individual appointed by the governor shall hold office until 12 noon of January 1 following the next general November election at which a successor is elected and qualified.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in section 409d(2), if the vacancy occurs more than 7 days before the nominating petition filing deadline as provided in section 409b for the general November election that is not the general November election at which a successor in office would be elected if there were no vacancy, the person individual appointed shall hold office only until a successor is elected at the next general November election in the manner provided for in this chapter for the election of judges of the court of appeals. The person individual elected shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Sec. 424. (1) If a vacancy occurs in the office of circuit judge, the governor shall appoint a successor to fill the vacancy. Except as otherwise provided in section 424a(3), the person The individual appointed by the governor shall be considered is an incumbent for purposes of this act. The person individual appointed by the governor shall hold office until 12 noon of January 1 following the next general November election at which a successor is elected and qualified.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in section 415(2), if the vacancy occurs more than 7 days before the nominating petition filing deadline as provided in section 413 for the general November election that is not the general November election at which a successor in office would be elected if there were no vacancy, the person individual appointed shall hold office only until a successor is elected at the next general November election in the manner provided in this chapter for the election of circuit judges. The person individual elected shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Sec. 424a. (1) In the primary and general election for 2 or more judgeships of the circuit court, each of the following categories of candidates shall be listed separately on the ballot, consistent with subsection (3):

(a) The names of candidates for the judgeship or judgeships for which the incumbent is seeking election.

(b) The names of candidates for an existing judgeship or judgeships for which the incumbent is not seeking election.

(c) The names of candidates for a newly created judgeship or judgeships.

(2) Nominating petitions filed under section 413 are valid only if they clearly indicate for which of the following offices the candidate is filing, consistent with subsection (3):

(a) An unspecified existing judgeship for which the incumbent judge is not seeking election.

(b) A new judgeship.

(c) An unspecified existing judgeship for which the incumbent judge is seeking election.

(3) If the death or disqualification of an incumbent judge triggers the application of section 415(2), then for the purposes of subsections (1) and (2), that judgeship shall be regarded as a judgeship for which the incumbent judge is not seeking election. The application of this subsection includes, but is not limited to, circumstances in which the governor appoints an individual to fill the vacancy and that individual seeks to qualify as a nominee under section 415(2).

(4) A person An individual who files nominating petitions for election to more than 1 circuit judgeship shall have has not more than 3 days following the close of filing to withdraw from all but 1 filing.

(5) In a primary and general election for 2 or more judgeships where more than 1 of the categories in subsection (2) could be selected, a candidate shall apply to the bureau of elections for a written statement of office designation to correspond to the judgeship sought by the candidate. The office designation provided by the secretary of state shall be included in the heading of all nominating petitions. Nominating petitions containing an improper office designation are invalid.

(6) The secretary of state shall issue an office designation of incumbent position for any judgeship for which the incumbent judge is eligible to seek reelection. If an incumbent judge does not file an affidavit of candidacy by the deadline, the secretary of state shall notify all candidates for that office that a nonincumbent position exists. All nominating petitions circulated for the nonincumbent position subsequent to the deadline shall bear an office designation of nonincumbent position. All signatures collected prior to the affidavit of candidacy filing deadline may be filed with the nonincumbent nominating petitions.

Sec. 433. (1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, to obtain the printing of the name of a person an individual as a candidate for nomination for the office of judge of probate upon on the official nonpartisan primary ballots, there must be filed with the county clerk of each county nominating petitions containing the signatures, addresses, and dates of signing of a number of qualified and registered electors residing in the county as determined under section 544f or by the filing of an affidavit according to section 433a. In the case of a probate court district, to obtain the printing of the name of a person an individual as a candidate for nomination for the office of judge of probate upon on the official nonpartisan primary ballots, there must be filed with the secretary of state nominating petitions containing the signatures, addresses, and dates of signing of a number of qualified and registered electors residing in the probate court district as determined under section 544f or by the filing of an affidavit according to section 433a. The county clerk or, in the case of a probate court district, the secretary of state shall receive nominating petitions up to 4 p.m. on the fifteenth Tuesday before the August primary. The provisions of sections 544a and 544b apply.

(2) Nominating petitions filed under this section are valid only if they clearly indicate for which of the following offices the candidate is filing, consistent with section 435a(2):

(a) An unspecified existing judgeship for which the incumbent judge is seeking election.

(b) An unspecified existing judgeship for which the incumbent judge is not seeking election.

(c) A new judgeship.

(2) (3) A person An individual who files nominating petitions for election to more than 1 probate judgeship has not more than 3 days following the close of filing to withdraw from all but 1 filing.

(4) In a primary and general election for 2 or more judgeships where more than 1 of the categories in subsection (2) could be selected, a candidate shall apply to the bureau of elections for a written statement of office designation to correspond to the judgeship sought by the candidate. The office designation provided by the secretary of state must be included in the heading of all nominating petitions. Nominating petitions containing an improper office designation are invalid.

(5) The secretary of state shall issue an office designation of incumbent position for any judgeship for which the incumbent judge is eligible to seek reelection. If an incumbent judge does not file an affidavit of candidacy by the deadline, the secretary of state shall notify all candidates for that office that a nonincumbent position exists. All nominating petitions circulated for the nonincumbent position after the deadline must bear an office designation of nonincumbent position. All signatures collected before the affidavit of candidacy filing deadline may be filed with the nonincumbent nominating petitions.

(3) (6) If a candidate for nomination for the office of judge of probate receives incorrect or inaccurate written information from the county clerk or, in the case of a probate court district, the secretary of state concerning the number of nominating petition signatures required under section 544f and that incorrect or inaccurate written information is published or distributed by the county clerk or, in the case of a probate court district, the secretary of state, the candidate may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction for equitable relief. A court may grant equitable relief to a candidate under this subsection if all of the following occur:

(a) The candidate brings the action for equitable relief within 6 days after the candidate is notified by the county clerk or, in the case of a probate court district, the secretary of state that the candidate's nominating petition contains insufficient signatures.

(b) The candidate files an affidavit certifying that he or she the candidate contacted and received from the county clerk or, in the case of a probate court district, the secretary of state incorrect or inaccurate written information concerning the number of nominating petition signatures required under section 544f.

(c) The county clerk or, in the case of a probate court district, the secretary of state published or distributed the incorrect or inaccurate written information concerning the number of nominating petition signatures required under section 544f before the filing deadline under subsection (1).

(d) The county clerk or, in the case of a probate court district, the secretary of state did not inform the candidate at least 14 days before the filing deadline under subsection (1) that incorrect or inaccurate written information concerning the number of nominating petition signatures required under section 544f had been published or distributed.

(4) (7) If a court grants equitable relief to a candidate under subsection (6), (3), the candidate must be given the opportunity to obtain additional nominating petition signatures to meet the requirements under section 544f. The additional nominating petition signatures obtained by a candidate must be filed with the county clerk or, in the case of a probate court district, the secretary of state no later than 4 p.m. on the fifth business day after the date that the court order granting equitable relief is filed.

(5) (8) The nominating petition signatures filed under this section are subject to challenge as provided in section 552.

Sec. 444. (1) If a vacancy occurs in the office of judge of probate, the governor shall appoint a successor to fill the vacancy. Except as otherwise provided in section 435a(2), the person The individual appointed by the governor shall be considered is an incumbent for purposes of this act and shall hold office until 12 noon of January 1 following the next general November election at which a successor is elected and qualified.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in section 435(2), if the vacancy occurs more than 7 days before the nominating petition filing deadline as provided in section 433 for the general November election that is not the general November election at which a successor in office would be elected if there were no vacancy, the person individual appointed shall hold office only until a successor is elected at the next general November election in the manner provided for in this chapter for the election of judges of probate. The person individual elected shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Sec. 467b. (1) To obtain the printing of the name of a person an individual as a candidate for nomination for the office of judge of the district court upon on the official nonpartisan primary ballots, there must be filed with the secretary of state nominating petitions containing the signatures, addresses, and dates of signing of a number of qualified and registered electors residing in the judicial district or division as determined under section 544f. An incumbent district court judge may also become a candidate by the filing of an affidavit in lieu of petitions according to section 467c. The secretary of state shall receive nominating petitions up to 4 p.m. on the fifteenth Tuesday before the primary. The provisions of sections 544a and 544b apply.

(2) Nominating petitions filed under this section are valid only if they clearly indicate for which of the following offices the candidate is filing, consistent with section 467c(4):

(a) An unspecified existing judgeship for which the incumbent judge is seeking election.

(b) An unspecified existing judgeship for which the incumbent judge is not seeking election.

(c) A new judgeship.

(2) (3) A person An individual who files nominating petitions for election to more than 1 district judgeship has not more than 3 days following the close of filing to withdraw from all but 1 filing.

(4) In a primary and general election for 2 or more judgeships where more than 1 of the categories in subsection (2) could be selected, a candidate shall apply to the bureau of elections for a written statement of office designation to correspond to the judgeship sought by the candidate. The office designation provided by the secretary of state must be included in the heading of all nominating petitions. Nominating petitions containing an improper office designation are invalid.

(5) The secretary of state shall issue an office designation of incumbent position for any judgeship for which the incumbent judge is eligible to seek reelection. If an incumbent judge does not file an affidavit of candidacy by the deadline, the secretary of state shall notify all candidates for that office that a nonincumbent position exists. All nominating petitions circulated for the nonincumbent position after the deadline must bear an office designation of nonincumbent position. All signatures collected before the affidavit of candidacy filing deadline may be filed with the nonincumbent nominating petitions.

(3) (6) If a candidate for nomination for the office of judge of the district court receives incorrect or inaccurate written information from the secretary of state or the bureau of elections concerning the number of nominating petition signatures required under section 544f and that incorrect or inaccurate written information is published or distributed by the secretary of state or the bureau of elections, the candidate may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction for equitable relief. A court may grant equitable relief to a candidate under this subsection if all of the following occur:

(a) The candidate brings the action for equitable relief within 6 days after the candidate is notified by the secretary of state or the bureau of elections that the candidate's nominating petition contains insufficient signatures.

(b) The candidate files an affidavit certifying that he or she the candidate contacted and received from the secretary of state or the bureau of elections incorrect or inaccurate written information concerning the number of nominating petition signatures required under section 544f.

(c) The secretary of state or the bureau of elections published or distributed the incorrect or inaccurate written information concerning the number of nominating petition signatures required under section 544f before the filing deadline under subsection (1).

(d) The secretary of state or bureau of elections did not inform the candidate at least 14 days before the filing deadline under subsection (1) that incorrect or inaccurate written information concerning the number of nominating petition signatures required under section 544f had been published or distributed.

(4) (7) If a court grants equitable relief to a candidate under subsection (6), (3), the candidate must be given the opportunity to obtain additional nominating petition signatures to meet the requirements under section 544f. The additional nominating petition signatures obtained by a candidate must be filed with the secretary of state no later than 4 p.m. on the fifth business day after the date that the court order granting equitable relief is filed.

(5) (8) The nominating petition signatures filed under this section are subject to challenge as provided in section 552.

Sec. 467c. (1) An incumbent district court judge may become a candidate in the primary election for the office of which he or she the judge is an incumbent by filing with the secretary of state an affidavit of candidacy in lieu of nominating petitions not less than 134 days before the date of the primary election. However, if an incumbent district court judge was appointed to fill a vacancy and the judge entered upon the duties of the office less than 137 days before the date of the primary election but before the fifteenth Tuesday before the primary election, the incumbent judge may file the affidavit of candidacy not more than 3 days after entering upon the duties of office. The affidavit of candidacy must contain statements that the affiant is an incumbent district court judge for the district or election division in which election is sought, that he or she the affiant is domiciled within the district or election division, and that he or she the affiant will not attain the age of 70 by the date of election, and a declaration that the affiant is a candidate for election to the office of district court judge.

(2) There must be printed upon the ballot under the name of each incumbent district judge who is a candidate for nomination or election to the same office the designation of that office.

(3) In the primary and general election for 2 or more judgeships of the district court, each of the following categories of candidates must be listed separately on the ballot, consistent with subsection (4):

(a) The names of candidates for the judgeship or judgeships for which the incumbent is seeking election.

(b) The names of candidates for an existing judgeship or judgeships for which the incumbent is not seeking election.

(c) The names of candidates for a newly created judgeship or judgeships.

(4) If the death or disqualification of an incumbent judge triggers the application of section 467e(2), then for the purposes of subsection (3) and section 467b(2), that judgeship must be regarded as a judgeship for which the incumbent judge is not seeking election. The application of this subsection includes, but is not limited to, circumstances in which the governor appoints an individual to fill the vacancy and that individual seeks to qualify as a nominee under section 467e(2).

Sec. 467m. (1) If a vacancy occurs in the office of district judge, the governor shall appoint a successor to fill the vacancy. Except as otherwise provided in section 467c(4), the person The individual appointed by the governor shall be considered is an incumbent for purposes of this act and shall hold office until 12 noon of January 1 following the next general November election at which a successor is elected and qualified.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in section 467e(2), if the vacancy occurs more than 7 days before the nominating petition filing deadline as provided in section 467b for the general November election that is not the general November election at which a successor in office would be elected if there were no vacancy, the person individual appointed shall hold office only until a successor is elected at the next general November election in the manner provided for in this chapter for the election of district court judges. The person individual elected shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Sec. 561. (1) The ballots prepared by the board of election commissioners in each county for use by the electors of a political party at a primary election shall must include the name of each candidate of the political party for the office of governor, United States senator, Senator, and district offices; for the county, the name of each candidate of the political party for county offices; and for each township, the name of each candidate of the political party for township offices.

(2) If, in a district that is a county or entirely within 1 county, 2 or more candidates, including candidates for nonpartisan offices, for the same office have the same or similar surnames, a candidate may file a written request with the board of county election commissioners for a clarifying designation. The request shall must be filed not later than 3 days after the last date for filing nominating petitions. Not later than 3 days after the filing of the request, the board of county election commissioners shall determine whether a similarity exists and whether a clarifying designation should be granted. In a district located in more than 1 county, the board of state canvassers shall make a determination whether to grant a clarifying designation upon on the written request of a candidate who files nominating petitions with the secretary of state. The request shall must be filed with the state board of state canvassers not later than 5 days after the last date for filing nominating petitions. The board of state canvassers shall make its a determination at the same time it the board makes a declaration of the sufficiency or insufficiency of nominating petitions in compliance with section 552.

(3) In each instance, the determining board shall immediately notify each candidate for the same office as the requester that a request for a clarifying designation has been made and of the date, time, and place of the hearing. The requester and each candidate for the same office shall must be notified of the board's determination by first-class mail sent within 24 hours after the final date for the determination. A candidate who is dissatisfied with the determination of the board of county election commissioners may file an appeal in the circuit court of the county where the board is located. A candidate who is dissatisfied with the determination of the board of state canvassers may file an appeal in the Ingham county County circuit court. The appeal shall must be filed within 14 days after the final date for determination by the board. The court shall hear the matter de novo. Except as provided in subsection (4), and subject to section 24 of article IV of the state constitution of 1963, in the case of the same surname or of a final determination by the board or by the court before the latest date that the board can arrange the ballot printing of the existence of similarity, the board shall print the occupation, date of birth, or residence of each of the candidates on the ballot or ballot labels under their the respective names. The term name of each candidate. As used in this subsection, "occupation" includes a currently held political office, even though it is not the candidate's principal occupation, but does not include reference to a previous position or occupation.

(4) If there are 2 candidates with the same or similar surnames and 1 of the candidates is entitled to an incumbency designation by section 24 of article VI of the state constitution of 1963, no other designation shall be provided for the other candidate with the same or similar surname. If there are more than 2 candidates with the same or similar surname and 1 of the candidates is entitled to an incumbency designation by section 24 of article VI of the state constitution of 1963, a clarifying designation may be given to the other candidates with the same or similar surname. Except for an incumbency designation under section 24 of article VI of the state constitution of 1963, if If 2 or more candidates with the same or similar surnames are related, the board shall only print the residence or date of birth of each of the candidates as a clarifying designation. As used in this subsection, "related" means that the candidates with the same or similar surnames are related within the third degree of consanguinity.

(5) The board of state canvassers shall issue guidelines to ensure fairness and uniformity in the granting of designations and may issue guidelines relating to what constitutes the same or similar surnames. The board of state canvassers and the boards of county election commissioners shall follow the guidelines.

Sec. 696. (1) The board of election commissioners in each county shall have the name of each candidate for federal, state, district, county, and township offices at an election printed on 1 ballot, separate from any other ballot. The name of each candidate of each political party must be placed under the name of the office for which the candidate was certified to have been nominated along with the political party name under the candidate's name.

(2) If, in a district that is a county or entirely within 1 county, 2 or more candidates nominated by the same political party or by different political parties for the same office, or nonpartisan candidates for the same office, have the same or similar surnames, a candidate may file a written request with the board of county election commissioners for a clarifying designation. The request must be filed not later than 3 days after the certification of the relevant candidates. Not later than 3 days after the filing of the request, the board of county election commissioners shall determine whether a similarity exists and whether a clarifying designation should be granted. In a district located in more than 1 county, the board of state canvassers shall make a determination whether to grant a clarifying designation upon on the written request of a candidate who is certified by the secretary of state. The request must be filed with the board of state canvassers not later than 3 days after the board of state canvassers completes the canvass of the primary election in compliance with section 581 and the certification of nominees in compliance with section 687. The board of state canvassers shall make its the board's determination not later than 3 days after the request is filed.

(3) In each instance, the determining board shall immediately notify each candidate for the same office as the requester that a request for a clarifying designation has been made and of the date, time, and place of the hearing. The requester and each candidate for the same office must be notified of the board's determination by first-class mail sent within 24 hours after the final date for the determination. A candidate who is dissatisfied with the determination of the board of county election commissioners may file an appeal in the circuit court of the county where the board is located. A candidate who is dissatisfied with the determination of the board of state canvassers may file an appeal in the Ingham County circuit court. The appeal must be filed within 14 days after the final date for determination by the board. The court shall hear the matter de novo. Except as provided in subsection (4), and subject to section 24 of article IV of the state constitution of 1963, in the case of the same surname or of a final determination by the board or by the court before the latest date that the board can arrange for the ballot printing of the existence of similarity, the board shall print the occupation, date of birth, or residence of each of the candidates having the same or similar surnames on the ballot or ballot labels or slips to be placed on the voting machine, when used, under their the respective names. name of each candidate. The request may not be made by a candidate of a political party whose candidate for secretary of state received less than 10% of the total vote cast in the state for all candidates for secretary of state in the most recent November election in which a secretary of state was elected. As used in this subsection, "occupation" includes a currently held political office, even though it is not the candidate's principal occupation, but does not include reference to a previous position or occupation.

(4) If there are 2 candidates with the same or similar surnames and 1 of the candidates is entitled to an incumbency designation by section 24 of article VI of the state constitution of 1963, no other designation shall be provided for the other candidate with the same or similar surname. If there are more than 2 candidates with the same or similar surname and 1 of the candidates is entitled to an incumbency designation by section 24 of article VI of the state constitution of 1963, a clarifying designation may be given to the other candidates with the same or similar surname. Except for an incumbency designation under section 24 of article VI of the state constitution of 1963, if If 2 or more candidates with the same or similar surnames are related, the board shall only print the residence or date of birth of each of the candidates as a clarifying designation. As used in this subsection, "related" means that the candidates with the same or similar surnames are related within the third degree of consanguinity.

(5) The board of state canvassers shall issue guidelines to ensure fairness and uniformity in the granting of designations and may issue guidelines relating to what constitutes the same or similar surnames. The board of state canvassers and the boards of county election commissioners shall follow the guidelines.

Enacting section 1. Section 435a of the Michigan election law, 1954 PA 116, MCL 168.435a, is repealed.

Enacting section 2. This amendatory act does not take effect unless Senate Joint Resolution ____ or House Joint Resolution O (request no. 04469'23) of the 102nd Legislature becomes a part of the state constitution of 1963 as provided in section 1 of article XII of the state constitution of 1963.