Stand Up for Democracy v. Mich. Sec'y of State (Opinion)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff Stand Up for Democracy petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to compel the Board of State Canvassers to certify its referendum petition for inclusion on the November 2012 ballot. Intervening defendant Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, challenged the certification of plaintiff’s referendum petition, alleging that it failed to comply with the type-size requirement of MCL 168.482(2) and that the doctrine of substantial compliance, whereby technical deficiencies are resolved in favor of certification, did not apply. The Court of Appeals agreed with both assertions, but concluded it was required to follow its decision in "Bloomfield Charter Township v Oakland County Clerk" and conclude that the petition substantially complied with MCL 168.482(2) and that certification was required. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed, overturning "Bloomfield Charter" and dismissed the case: "because MCL 168.482(2) uses the mandatory term 'shall' and does not, by its plain terms, permit certification of deficient petitions with regard to form or content, a majority of [the] Court [held] that the doctrine of substantial compliance is inapplicable to referendum petitions submitted for certification."