5 ways Michigan elected officials made recalls more difficult

Dec 21, 2012

Last year, voters recalled State Rep. Paul Scott (R-Grand Blanc). He was the first elected official to be recalled in Michigan since 1983.

But apparently that recall, and dozens of other recent attempts, were enough to spook legislators into making the process harder.

Michigan Gov. Snyder signed a bill into law yesterday that makes it harder for voters to recall elected officials.

The bills were initially sponsored by Republicans and Democrats, but as the Republicans in the state Legislature passed the controversial 'right-to-work' bills, Democrats accused the Republicans of rushing the changes through to protect themselves from recall campaigns.

If you're part of a group seeking to organize a recall, here are the five changes you'll have to consider when organizing a campaign:

  1. Petition language will be approved at the state level (by the Board of State Canvassers), rather than at the county level.
  2. Instead of petition language having 'sufficient clarity,' the language will now be approved on "whether the reasons for the recall are stated both 'factually and clearly.'"
  3. You'll have 60 days to collect enough petition signatures, rather than 90 days.
  4. Officials can no longer be recalled in the first six months or the last six months of their terms.
  5. If a recall election is held, there will be no more "yes or no" votes on the recall. Voters will now have to decide whether to keep the elected official or elect an opposing candidate.

When signing the legislation, Michigan Gov. Snyder said the legislation makes the system more fair.