The bill, which was sponsored by state Rep. Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, was inspired by a timing conflict that prevented five local officials in Sault Ste. Marie from appearing on the November ballot.
The city charter states that candidates must have their paperwork filed 12 weeks before the August primary. However, the state of Michigan has a 15-week deadline.
“There was a mix-up between the filing deadline outlined in the city charter and what is required by the state,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “This legislation provides a one-time fix by extending the filing deadline, allowing the names of the five candidates who relied on the deadline in the city charter to appear on the ballot in November.”
Schmidt said approval is not only on a tight schedule to be effective during the current election cycle, but essential to ensuring the residents of Sault Ste. Marie have a voice in government.
“Allowing an election to proceed with no names on the ballot directly challenges the most core principles of our government,” Schmidt said. “I am proud of my colleagues in the House for approving this measure and I would also like to thank Mr. Turner for traveling to Lansing and making his case before the committee.”
The bill was approved by the committee and will now go before the full Senate for further consideration.