Skip to main content
A Better Partnership
June 19, 2013

COA concludes that Detroit's residency requirement for mayoral candidates passes consitutional test

In Barrow v. City of Detroit Election Comm'n, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that a prospective mayoral candidate was ineligible for candidacy when he filed his petition just under a year after registering to vote in Detroit. Section 2-101 of the Detroit City Charter requires that mayoral candidates be Detroit residents and be registered Detroit voters for one year 'at the time of filing for office.' The Michigan Court of Appeals declined to apply strict scrutiny to the residency requirement and held that the law withstood both intermediate and rational basis scrutiny because of the government's interest in ensuring that candidates are familiar with the community. The court also decided that the statute was not ambiguous and the one year must be counted from the time that the petition was filed and not the filing deadline that is applicable to all candidates.

The partial dissent would have applied strict scrutiny to the residency requirement as a restriction on the right to intrastate travel, which is a fundamental right according to federal courts. The dissent would have struck down the law because even if ensuring that candidates have knowledge of the community is a compelling government interest, the law is not narrowly tailored to that interest because some outsiders may have a more complete knowledge of the community than politically disengaged outsiders.

NOTICE. Although we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Also, we cannot treat unsolicited information as confidential. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you.

By clicking the ‘ACCEPT’ button, you agree that we may review any information you transmit to us. You recognize that our review of your information, even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us, and even if you consider it confidential, does not preclude us from representing another client directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you.

Please click the ‘ACCEPT’ button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.



+ -