LANSING — State Rep. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) is leading a group of representatives who have introduced a seven-bill package to reform petition circulation legislation in the state. The bills are a response to complaints across the state that a number of petition groups are using varying degrees of dishonesty when attempting to gather signatures.

 “The use of petitions, referendums and ballot initiatives is an important component of the democratic process, but the process must be done in a fair and honest manner,” said Rep. Moss. “We cannot continue to allow bad actors to use lies and manipulation to erode the credibility of the system for the rest of us.”

            Current statute does not treat manipulative tactics for signature gathering as criminal, allowing false information in petition circulation to flourish. Elements of the seven-bill package include:

  • Authorizing a voter who has signed an initiative, referendum or recall petition to remove their name by filing a written request with county elections officials prior to the day of filing (House Bill 5208 introduced by Rep. Jeremy Moss)
  • Prohibiting the hiring of a signature gatherer already convicted of crimes related to election or petition fraud and forgery (House Bill 5209 introduced by Rep. Jeremy Moss)
  • Prohibiting paying circulators by the signature (House Bill 5210 introduced by Rep. Kevin Hertel)
  • Holding the organization a petition circulator works for liable if the circulator makes a false or misrepresentative statement concerning the petition (House Bill 5211 introduced by Rep. Leslie Love)
  • Requiring circulators to wear a badge disclosing if they are paid or volunteering (House Bill 5212 introduced by Rep. Leslie Love)
  • Requiring entities paying petition circulators to register with the state and keep a log of all paid petition circulators (House Bill 5213 introduced by Rep. Sheldon Neeley)
  • Allowing only the first petition signature to be counted if someone signs the same petition more than once (House Bill 5214 introduced by Rep. Christine Greig)

            “Distrust in government is at an all-time high, and we must penalize those who are actively participating in making it untrustworthy,” said Rep. Moss. “This bill package will ensure that the voice of the people can truly be heard, and that the will of the people is truly carried out.”