Only certain people would be eligible to serve on the commission. Its members must meet the following criteria:
- Be registered and eligible to vote;[*]
- Not have been or done any of the following within the last six years:
- Declared candidacy for a partisan federal, state or local political office;[†]
- An elected, partisan official in a federal, state or local political office;
- An officer or member of a governing body of a national, state or local political party;
- A paid consultant or employee of an elected official, political candidate, political campaign or a political action committee;
- An employee of the state Legislature;
- A registered lobbyist or an employee of a registered lobbyist;
- A state employee whose job is not governed by the Michigan Civil Service Commission, except for employees of courts, public universities and the Michigan Army and Air National Guard;[‡]
- Be a parent, stepparent, child, stepchild or spouse of a disqualified person;
- Be disqualified for an appointed or elected state office.
Further, serving on the commission would make someone ineligible for five years after their appointment for an elected, partisan office at any level of government: state, county, city, village or township.
[*] To be eligible to vote in Michigan you must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years old, a resident of Michigan and not currently serving a sentence in jail or prison. MCL § 168.492; MCL § 168.492a.
[†] A partisan political office is generally considered one in which candidates align themselves with one political party and are labeled as such. This information is listed on the ballot and voters see it when casting their votes. Nonpartisan elections are ones in which candidates do not have to affiliate with a political party and no information about party affiliation is listed on the ballot. Michigan has several statewide nonpartisan elections, including those for choosing the state Supreme Court. Further, many local government elections are nonpartisan, such as for city councils, mayor or school board. Eric Walcott, “Why Are Some Elections Non-Partisan?” (Michigan State University Extension, Dec. 1, 2017), https://perma.cc/Y4QE-Y9SJ.
[‡] These are often referred to as unclassified employees. Article XI, § 5 of the Michigan Constitution allows state departments to hire a limited number of employees who are except from being governed by the Civil Service Commission. According to the Michigan State Employee Retirees Association, there were about 100 such positions in 2017. Mary Pollock, “Capitol News” (Michigan State Employee Retirees Association, Mar. 5, 2017), https://perma.cc/BMB4-JS9Y.