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Initiatives, Referendums, & Recalls

The information below is provided in the  City Charter pertaining to Initiative, Referendum, and Recall Elections. For further information, please contact the City Clerk's Office.

Initiative - Requirements of Petition

§ 58. Any proposed ordinance may be submitted to the City Commission by petition filed with the city Clerk and signed by registered voters of the city in number of not less than fifteen percent (15%) of the number of total valid ballots cast for Commissioners at the last preceding regular election and verified by the person or persons who obtained the signatures thereto. Such verifications shall state that said signatures were obtained by the person or persons verifying the same, that the said signatures are the genuine signatures of the persons purporting to sign the same, and that the person of persons verifying such petition believed that the signers thereof are fully qualified and registered electors of the city. Said petitions shall give the residence of each of said electors signing the same by street and number, precinct and the date of signing the same. Such initiatory petition shall contain said proposed ordinance in full and a request that if sad proposed ordinance be not passed by the City Commission, the same shall be submitted to a vote of the electors. Said petition shall also contain any existing ordinance which would be altered or abrogated thereby.

Duty of City Clerk and City Commission

§ 59. Upon filing said petition, the City Clerk shall at once ascertain and certify its number of qualified signers. If such certificate shows the required number of qualified signers, the City Commission within twenty (20) days thereafter shall either enact said proposed ordinance without alteration or submit the proposed ordinance to the electors as hereinafter provided.

If such ordinance shall be enacted by the City Commission, it shall be subject to the regulations and restrictions upon the manner of the enactment as though it had originated in the City Commission. Submission to a Vote.

§ 60. If the City Commission shall determine not to enact an ordinance proposed by initiatory petition, it shall by resolution provide for its submission unamended to the electors and shall fix the time for the submission thereof and shall call a special election for that purpose not later than three months thereafter unless a general election or a special election for another purpose is to be held in six months. In such case, if a special election has not been called to vote upon such ordinance, the same shall be submitted at the first regular election thereafter. At such election all registered voters having the qualifications of electors shall be entitled to vote. If a majority of the electors voting on the question vote in favor of the proposed ordinance, it shall go into effect upon the proper publication or notice as provided in § 14 of this Charter.

Conflicting Ordinances - Which to Prevail

§ 61. If the provisions of two or more ordinances, both of which were adopted or approved by the electors at the same election, whether by initiatory provision or referendum as provided in this Charter, be inconsistent, then the ordinance receiving the lesser affirmative votes shall be of no force or effect so far as it or any of its provisions are inconsistent with the other ordinance or ordinances adopted or approved. 

Manner of Recalling or Amending

§ 62. An ordinance proposed by petition and adopted by a vote of the electors as herein provided shall not be recalled or amended except by a majority vote of the electors voting thereon at an election called and held under the provisions of the City Charter.

Referendum - Requirements of Petition For  

§ 63. If within twenty days from time of enactment of any ordinance other than emergency measures by the City Commission, or if at any time before the same shall have been published or posted and due notice of enactment given as provided in § 14 of this Charter, a petitions shall be filed with the City Clerk protesting against such ordinance taking effect and signed by registered voters of the city in number of not less than fifteen percent (15%) of the number of total valid ballots cast for Commissioners at the last preceding regular election and verified as required in § 33 of this Charter and certified by the Clerk as required in this Charter, the same shall thereupon be suspended from taking effect and the City Commission shall at its next regular session reconsider such ordinance and act thereon, and if the same be not entirely repealed, the City Commission shall submit such ordinance by the method hereinbefore provided for referendum or ordinances initiated by petition to the vote of the qualified electors of the city, either at the next regular municipal election or at a special election which may be called for that purpose at the discretion of the City Commission, and such ordinance shall not take effect unless a majority of the qualified electors voting thereon at such election shall vote in favor thereof.

Recall of Elective Officials

§ 64. Any elective officer may be removed by the qualified electors of the city at the time and in the manner provided by the general laws of the State.

City of Kalamazoo

Home to the Kalamazoo Promise, three institutions of higher education, two nationally recognized healthcare systems, cutting-edge medical research, world-class brewing and dining, outstanding parks, and an extensive variety of music, art, theatre, and cultural attractions.


 (269) 337-8000
 (269) 337-8182
 241 West South Street
     Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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