[Michlib-l] building access in the election law
Membiela, Clare (MDE)
MembielaC at michigan.gov
Thu Jun 15 14:28:10 EDT 2017
In addition to the ACLU document, the links below may provide some helpful information.
Because a public library is often determined a "limited public forum" (as seen on the ACLU document, and per the definition in the Perry case (below)), It is probably not advisable to ban all solicitation for signatures. However, it seems that it is permissible for public libraries to establish certain policies regarding public use of the building and grounds by people - including petition volunteers.
As always, PLEASE consult your attorney before finalizing a procedure or policy.
For example, many libraries have policies regarding the solicitation of signatures. You may want to review some of these policies from other Michigan Libraries and then consult your attorney on which policies would be best for your community and library. A key aspect of such policies is that the library should not appear to favor one topic or point of view over another, and the impetus of creating policies should be to ensure the use of the building for its intended purpose (ie minimization of disruption to the library).
Information on Petitioning in Limited Public Forums
Perry Educ. Ass'n v. Perry Local Educators' Ass'n, 460 U.S. 37, 49, 103 S. Ct. 948, 957, 74 L. Ed. 2d 794 (1983) (Supreme Court Opinion that defines "Limited Public Forum) http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/460/37.html
http://www.olc.org/pdf/Petitioning-bans08-08.pdf Good general explanation of this issue directed towards libraries by an Ohio attorney.
http://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment1/annotation20.html Another good, but more general, explanation, via FindLaw
http://blog.librarylaw.com/librarylaw/2006/07/can_you_prohibi.html (Older , but still a good explanation) specifically addressing libraries, via Librarylaw blog.
Sample Policies (Found via Google - "library policies petition michigan" )
I hope this is helpful!
Clare D. Membiela, MLS, J.D.
Library of Michigan
MembielaC at michigan.gov
The research and resources above are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.
Did you know most Michigan educator certificates expire June 30th of any given year? Educators can check expiration dates and renew or progress certificates using the Michigan Online Educator Certification System at www.michigan.gov/moecs. Not your year for renewal? Use MOECS to manage professional learning for future renewals, view effectiveness ratings and update personal information!
From: michlib-l-bounces at mcls.org [mailto:michlib-l-bounces at mcls.org] On Behalf Of James Lenze via Michlib-l
Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 3:09 PM
To: Lise Mitchell via Michlib-l <michlib-l at mcls.org>
Subject: Re: [Michlib-l] building access in the election law
I am not a lawyer, but as I understand it, the question comes down to whether the area in question is a public forum, and whether or not the government has allowed other types of free speech in the area in the past.
Here is a link to document from the ACLU about petitioning. The 2nd question on page 2 addresses petitioning in public buildings.
James B Lenze, Director
Garden City Public Library
jamesl at gardencitymi.org
From: Lise Mitchell via Michlib-l<mailto:michlib-l at mcls.org>
Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 2:36 PM
To: michlib-l<mailto:michlib-l at mcls.org>
Subject: [Michlib-l] building access in the election law
Does anybody know of in the Michigan election law or any state law that gives people collecting signatures for petitions special rights to collect signatures in public buildings?
Or the section of law about guaranteeing access to public buildings to collect signatures for petitions.
I've only read about no collecting signatures near polling places.
Lise Mitchell, Director
Grand Ledge Area District Library
131 E. Jefferson Street
Grand Ledge, MI 48837
gladldirector at gmail.com<mailto:gladldirector at gmail.com>
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