After months of turmoil, Detroit voters overwhelmingly voted no to Proposal P, opting not to adopt a new city charter.
With all precincts reporting, the revised charter plan was defeated with 67% of voters rejecting the proposal, according to unofficial returns.
Detroiters voted to establish a Charter Revision Commission in 2018. After meeting with citizen focus groups to workshop ideas and translate them into policy, the Charter Revision Commission finished its revisions to the city charter early this year.
The revised charter includes a declaration of citizens’ rights, new measures on policing and the public internet, others on youth employment programs, water affordability and contracting requirements. It also establishes task forces on reparations and environmental justice.
The Michigan Supreme Court upheld the placement of the ballot question to adopt a new city charter last week, ruling that the Detroit Charter Revision Commission can submit its proposals without Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s approval. Whitmer rejected the charter earlier this year, saying it could lead to another financial crisis in the state’s largest city, among other legal challenges.
Opponents to the revised charter, including Mayor Mike Duggan, Whitmer and various business groups in Detroit, say the new charter would be too expensive to implement, while supporters say those assessments are inaccurate.
Leading up to the election, opponents of the charter revision funded billboards, television commercials and online ads in an attempt to sway public opinion about the ballot issue, leading activists to raise concerns about the influx of “dark money” advertisements against the proposal.