Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers just approved a petition to recall Governor Rick Snyder. Surprisingly, this one isn’t based on the Flint water crisis — but you can sure bet the Flint crisis will spur a great deal of engagement on it. Now it’s up to organizers who have 60 days to gather just under 790,000 signatures to force a recall election. In 2012 a revision of the recall law was passed that shrunk the collection window from 90 days to 60 days, so time is of the essence.
The Board of Canvassers has rejected many Flint-related petitions due to the fact they were not specific enough about why Governor Snyder should be recalled from office. The new petition that they finally approved is regarding an executive order that Snyder took about the emergency state takeover of some schools in Michigan.
Snyder used a March executive order to move the School Reform Office to where it would now be under the Department of Technology, Management and Budget. This was a move that the state Board of Education quickly called unconstitutional. The petitioner was listed as Benjamin Lazarus, who is a member of the Warren Consolidated Schools board. Lazarus noted the School Reform Office last week appointed a chief executive officer to run four East Detroit schools.
Previous recall petitions have been rejected by the board, made up of two Democrats and two Republicans, because of technicalities, such as the petition submitted by Quincy Murphy. He sought to recall Snyder because he “admitted he failed Flint” in his 2016 address. The Board’s two Republicans voted against the petition because Snyder said “government” failed Flint — not himself personally. This resulted in deadlock with the two Democrats voting for the petition. Board member Norm Shinkle said that if the petition would have directly quoted Snyder’s remarks, he would have voted for it. However, the petition made an inference so he and his Republican colleague did not.
The board has rejected five other petitions for somewhat flimsy reasons such as spelling errors, incomplete sentences, and quotes that combined multiple statements by Snyder. While there does need to be accuracy and a respect for a correct process, it seems like the Republican members were ignoring the spirit of the petitions and using minor details as an easy excuse to deny them.
Snyder’s office had little comment beyond that they have “respect” for the democratic process of recalls, and that they have a continued focus on helping the people of Flint.
Watch Fox 2 News coverage of the event below:
Featured image from video screen capture