News & Views » Detroit News

Council by districts makes ballot


The Michigan Court of Appeals today overturned last week’s Wayne County Circuit Court ruling and ordered that the question of whether to elect the majority of the Detroit city council by district be put to voters.

“The citizens of the city of Detroit are entitled to have the proposal placed on the ballot,” the order read, issued by Judges Michael Talbot, Kurtis Wilder and Christopher Murray.

In an emergency appeal filed today, the group Detroiters for City Council by Districts had asked the higher court to consider the issue after Wayne County Judge Virgil Smith last week dismissed the group’s suit against City Clerk Janice Winfrey.

After the group collected and submitted signatures to have the question considered in the Nov. 3 election, Winfrey said the proposed ballot language lacked clarity and refused to put it on the ballot. The Detroit City Council, rather than hammer out new language, last week discussed several objections — such as how the proposal would mesh with other language in the city charter — and asked the Attorney General’s office to review the proposal for a second time.

The Court of Appeals panel agreed that the petition language was indeed insufficient, but that Winfrey should have placed it on the ballot.

The question reads:

Shall the Detroit City Charter be amended to provide for a total of nine members of City Council with one (1) council member, with district residency, elected from each of seven (7) districts and two (2) members elected at large.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.