Ballot language approved by judge in Detroit reparations initiative

Language originally disapproved by city clerk, Election Commission

Detroit reparations initiative scores legal victory
Detroit reparations initiative scores legal victory

DETROIT – Residents in Detroit will be asked on the November ballot whether they want to change a specific section of the city charter. The ballot language approved by a Wayne County judge Friday afternoon asks voters a yes or no question.

“The voters of the city reserve the power to enact city ordinances, call the ‘initiative’, and the power to nullify ordinances, enacted by the city called the ‘referendum’. However these powers do not extend to the budget and the referendum power does not extend to any emergency ordinance.”

Detroit city clerk and Election Commission initially ruled that the language would not appear. That decision was overruled by Judge Tim Kenny.

“There is incompetence at the clerk’s office at the highest level,” said attorney Todd Perkins.

Perkins won his fight to get the language to change the charter on the November ballot; however, with it expressly making it have no budgetary authority, if a reparations ballot initiative eventually goes forward will there be any cash attached to it?

“This is just one step,” Perkins said. “It’s a ground game and we take these victories and move on to the next level.”

A spokesman for the city declined comment.


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