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Appendices

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Appendix X
DECLARATORY RULINGS AND INTERPRETIVE STATEMENTS

The Department of State responds to questions regarding the application of the Act by two methods:

  • The most formal procedure is a Declaratory Ruling. A Declaratory Ruling is issued when a request for a Ruling concerns a specific, factual situation. A person who will be directly affected by the Ruling must make the request. The Ruling is binding on the Secretary of State and on the person requesting the Ruling unless modified or set aside by a court. A person requesting a Declaratory Ruling should:
    1. State that a Declaratory Ruling is being requested.
    2. Indicate the specific, existing set of facts involved.
    3. Cite, if known, the legal authority upon which the request is based.
  • Less formal than a Declaratory Ruling is an Interpretive Statement. An Interpretive Statement is issued when a request for a Declaratory Ruling is not specific enough to warrant a Ruling or when a request concerns a hypothetical situation. Interpretive Statements are also issued when a request for information is received which is significant for the general public but does not come in the form required for a Declaratory Ruling. An Interpretive Statement does not have the force and effect of law and is merely explanatory. A person requesting an Interpretive Statement should state the question as specifically and clearly as possible.

The Campaign Finance Act requires that the Department of State observe the following timetable when a proper request for a Declaratory Ruling is received:

1. The Declaratory Ruling request is made available for public inspection within 48 hours after its receipt.
2. Written comments on the Declaratory Ruling request are accepted from interested parties up to 10 business days after the request is received.
3. A proposed response to the Declaratory Ruling request is made available for public inspection within 45 business days after the request is received.
4. Written comments on the proposed response to the Declaratory Ruling request are accepted from interested parties up to 5 business days after the proposed response is made available to the public.
5. The Declaratory Ruling is issued within 60 business days after the request for the ruling is received.

Under extenuating circumstances, the Department of State may extend the above timetable for 30 business days. A person who requests a Declaratory Ruling has the authority to waive the 60-day timetable.

Mail all requests for Declaratory Rulings and Interpretive Statements to:

Michigan Department of State
Bureau of Elections
Richard H. Austin Building 1st Floor
430 West Allegan Street
Lansing, Michigan 48918

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