What Will Be on the Ballot?
In the upcoming November elections, voters will have the chance to decide if police should be allowed to access people’s electronic data and communications. This is an update to the Michigan Constitution which would make a constitutional amendment barring police from the search and seizure of private electronic information without a valid warrant. It is important to note that this change would be to the Michigan Constitution and not the United States Constitution. Other states have passed similar legislation overwhelmingly. The state of New Hampshire passed a similar measure in 2018 with over 80% in favor. Missouri did it four years earlier with 75% support. If passed, this would apply to Michigan law enforcement agencies only, not federal authorities. It would also bar Michigan law enforcement from working on behalf of federal authorities in trying to gain access to electronic data without a warrant. Generally, police agencies seek warrants or have other legal justification for executing searches, but this new amendment would make the requirements official.