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Nominating petitions are due to be filed by candidates for public office by tomorrow—April 21, 2020. For many candidates, federal, state, and local municipal charters require candidates to obtain a specific number of signatures on a nominating petition. Those signature requirements are designed to show enough interest in and viability of a candidate to be placed on the ballot at the August primary election.
This year, of course, Michigan has been severely affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Governor Whitmer declared a state of emergency, followed by numerous executive orders. Executive Order 2020-21 required individuals to shelter-in place, but also prohibited certain gatherings and door-to-door activity typically required by candidates collect petition signatures. Executive Order 2020-42 extended and further restricted those activities.
One day before the deadline, United States District Judge Terrence Berg issued an order altering the requirements for certain candidates required to file nominating petitions by April 21, 2020. Esshaki v Whitmer, order of the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan, issued April 20, 2020 (Case No. 20-CV-10831). The order changes the April 21, 2020 nominating petition deadline only for candidates for
- U.S. Senate
- U.S. Congress
- Wayne County Community College Trustee
- All Judicial Offices (only for candidates who are not the current incumbent)
- Any city office where the city charter does not allow the option to file with a fee.
The deadline for the above candidates is extended to May 8, 2020. The number of required signatures has been reduced, and the signatures can be obtained electronically.
But for Township officials, the deadline for nominating petitions or filing fees is still April 21, 2020.
Unlike the public offices addressed by the federal court order, Township officials must still comply with the April 21 deadline because candidates for Township office can pay a filing fee in lieu of a nominating petition.
For more resources on impacts from COVID-19 see our FSBR resources. If you have additional questions about impacts to your township, our dedicated municipal team is available and continuing to monitor the situation as it develops.
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At Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC, we’ve been helping municipalities, franchised businesses, employers, and more with their legal needs since 2008. We’d love to learn how we can help you, too.