There’s one word you can’t use to describe Governor Rick Snyder: Uncontroversial. In less than four months Michigan’s newest governor has created loads of controversy.
The seemingly mild-mannered former business executive has rammed a tough new emergency financial manager law through the legislature. He is pushing a budget that gives businesses a big tax break and makes devastating cuts to education and social programs. Lots of people are hopping mad, and some of them are trying to do something drastic about it. A group called Michigan Citizens United is launching a campaign to remove the governor from office.
They’ve filed paperwork in Washtenaw County seeking official permission to begin a recall drive. In nine days, the county board of commissioners will have a hearing to determine if the language on the petition is clear. If it is, the group can start collecting names. If they get enough signatures, the state’s voters may go the polls November 8th and decide whether to remove the governor. If a majority voted yes, Rick Snyder would be out of a job.
His opponents have a web site. They have a facebook page, and they are gung-ho. But there are two questions we should ask: Does this recall effort have a chance of succeeding, and -- is it a good idea? The first question is fairly easy; the answer is a resounding no. It will be all but impossible for this or any grassroots group to get enough signatures to make this happen.
Here’s why. They would need to collect 807,000 valid signatures within ninety days. Practically, as Citizens’ United admit, they really need well over a million, since some are bound to be disqualified.
That would mean they’d have to collect more than ten thousand signatures a day. The only way they could possibly achieve that is by spending a vast amount of money to hire people to collect the signatures, and this group doesn’t have it.
Most petition efforts to get constitutional amendments on the ballot fail, unless they have heavy financial backing, and an amendment only needs about a third as many signatures.