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Ballot Question Committee

For a more comprehensive discussion of this subject, see the Ballot Question Committee Manual on the Secretary of State's website. And if you have questions, you can reach the Bureau of Elections at (517) 373-2540.

Michiganís campaign finance law requires any group that receives contributions or makes expenditures to influence voters for or against the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question to form and register a committee. If the committee takes in or spends more than $500, those contributions and expenditures must be reported. If the committee takes in or spends more than $20,000 in a calendar year, it must report electronically.

A group must register as a Ballot Question Committee within 10 calendar days of receiving or spending $500.00 in a calendar year. You can fill out the Statement of Organization form online here. Here is where to file:

  • If the ballot question supported or opposed by the committee will be voted on in one county, the committee files the Statement of Organization with the clerk of that county.  

  • If the ballot question supported or opposed by the committee will be voted on in more than one county, the committee files the Statement of Organization with the clerk of the county having the greatest number of registered voters eligible to vote on the ballot question.

  • If the ballot question will be voted on statewide, the committee files the Statement of Organization with the Michigan Department of State, Bureau of Elections.

Unlike contributions to candidate committees, there is no limit on contributions to a Ballot Question Committee. However, cash contributions cannot exceed $20. Contributions of $20.01 or more must be made by a written instrument such as a check or money order that shows the name of the person making the contribution and the name of the committee accepting the contribution.

Contributions can be accepted from persons living outside Michigan, but not from foreign nationals.

Unlike other types of campaign committees, a Ballot Question Committee may accept contributions from a corporation, a joint stock company, a labor organization, or a domestic dependent sovereign (a federally-recognized Indian tribe). Such contributions may be in the form of:

  • money from treasury funds

  • goods

  • services

  • discounts

  • free use of facilities

The Secretary of State provides a free software program for electronically filing campaign reports. It is called MERTS Plus and you can download it here. The site also has a document that tells how to produce the file with your own software.